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October 26, 2018

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Another reason the question about the African American guy with lower test scores than the Asian woman is that it's framed in terms of individuals.

The college where I worked in admissions now has a roughly 25% "Asian" undergraduate student body, and that's not counting the "International" students. Black students -- 6.3%.

(It's not Harvard. I don't pay any attention to Harvard except when I walk past the campus. ;-)

That wasn't a purposeful pile-on. JanieM's comment wasn't there when I started reading.

But the whole issue isn't served well by an obsession with test scores to the exclusion of all kinds of other things that go into making a student, making a university class, and making a society.

I wholeheartedly agree - and it's an attitude which has started to permeate British education, from primary up.

Regardless of their skin pigmentation, you're not doing someone a favor if your affirmative action gets them into a school they're unable to succeed in.

Regardless of their skin pigmentation, you're not doing someone a favor if your affirmative action gets them into a school they're unable to succeed in.

Again, an oversimplified sound bite.

Our affirmative action program was specifically designed to look especially hard for bright kids who hadn't had much if any fostering from their families and/or schools. We brought them to campus for the summer to help them get up to speed.

It's becoming a "thing" now -- one of the smaller college in Maine, not far from where I live, does specific programs for students who are the first in their famliies to go to college. I would have benefited greatly from that, if I could have gotten over the notion that I already knew everything.

And again in the realm of how things aren't simple: I say I would have benefited from a program for people who didn't have a family background that prepared them for college -- I did fine academically. It was all the other stuff that I didn't really know how to navigate. Departmental politics, the competitiveness, it's a long list. So again: numbers aren't everything.

In the spirit of the discussion about repairing society-wide wrongs that inspired Sebastian's original comment about affirmative action, I would say: stop obsessing so much about admission to elite college (where almost no one gets in in the first place) and start obsessing about poverty and public education for younger kids. Children are compelled by law to spend their lives in schools that are not, in turn, compelled to give them a decent education. It's disgraceful.

If we're going to have a productive discussion, we need to focus on how they do college admissions on "The Simpsons."

No, let's focus on Harvard enrollment stats:

Here's a selection:

https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1GCEA_enUS774US774&ei=Wb_ZW6fmMujcjwTyqYXwDQ&q=harvard+undergraduate+enrollment+statistics+over+the+years&oq=harvard+undergraduate+enrollment+statistics+over+the+years&gs_l=psy-ab.12..33i299.13125.15275..17424...0.0..0.163.1739.1j14......0....1..gws-wiz.......0i71j0i22i30j33i22i29i30j33i160.gz7sYxNaM_E

Lowest admittance ever this way.

Why does no one suggest that Harvard and the other elite universities expand their enrollment numbers to in some ways alleviate this ongoing endless dispute?

Surely, they possess the endowment to expand the facilities and the teaching staff.

I could be sarcastic .. ah, what the hell, I will be sarcastic ... and remark that conservatives in this country who hate the elites at the same time don't want to water down the the elitism by admitting those who might be even slightly beneath them.

Hell of a racket the republican party's got going there.

Grover Norquist. Harvard.

If they can admit that elite, elitist-hating, destructive piece of shit, they can take anyone.

Children are compelled by law to spend their lives in schools that are not, in turn, compelled to give them a decent education. It's disgraceful.

Snap again.
In some respects, forced attendance at a poor school (or in my own case, a boarding school...) represents a deprivation of liberty almost akin to incarceration.

I give you Carl Reiner:

https://www.balloon-juice.com/2018/10/31/wednesday-morning-open-thread-marching-towards-a-finish-line/

Yes, the "metrics" used for college admission are deeply flawed.

So, my plan, which is mine:
(for clarity, assume incoming class is 1000):

250 is the top 250 applicants, by whatever metric is used.

Now take the applicants between the "need this score to survive" and the previous top 250 group, and select another 750 by RANDOM LOTTERY.

The division between "selected by merit" and "selected by lottery" can be adjusted. But every applicant that has a chance, gets a chance. And the result will be a better shuffled mix of students.

As for public school support, it was best stated by a NJ judge that shot down a GOP plan to cripple state funding, in spite of previous rulings to the contrary:

"I meant what I said and I said what I meant,
the schools must be funded, one hundred percent."

"represents a deprivation of liberty almost akin to incarceration."

The Republican elitist running for Governor of Colorado, Walker Stapleton, is on record in the past for cutting education funding to public schools and transferring the monies to the state's prison accounts.

One of his major donors are the private prison owners.

Charter schools and charter prisons all in the same building, perhaps.

Saves on transport costs.

So it's not much "represents" as it IS the fucking plan.

Why does no one suggest that Harvard and the other elite universities expand their enrollment numbers to in some ways alleviate this ongoing endless dispute?

With an endowment of ~32 billion dollars, Harvard isn't short on cash.

https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2018/10/mueller-subpoenaed-trump

To echo JanieM, if the crux of our thinking about social inequity is "who gets into Harvard?", we're not asking the right questions. We're not even within 100 miles of asking the right questions.

We treated black people like beasts of burden for a couple of hundred years, then merely like lesser human beings for another hundred, and enforced all of that with systemic violence and de jure and de facto exclusion.

So if a talented black guy gets into Harvard ahead of an equally talented Asian woman, in spite of their respective test scores, it just doesn't move the needle on my injustice-o-meter.

The tiniest bit of perspective goes a long long way.

YMMV

In the spirit of the discussion about repairing society-wide wrongs that inspired Sebastian's original comment about affirmative action, I would say: stop obsessing so much about admission to elite college (where almost no one gets in in the first place) In the spirit of the discussion about repairing society-wide wrongs that inspired Sebastian's original comment about affirmative action, I would say: stop obsessing so much about admission to elite college (where almost no one gets in in the first place)

It's pretty clear that the Asian students are being used as a stalking horse. After all, anyone who actually feels they are getting a raw deal would go after the big problem: legacy admissions.

Cut out the kids who only get in because they were clever enough to pick parents (or grandparents?) who got in. Presto! Lots more slots for Asians. And probably more blacks as well . . . which, unfortunately, would defeat the whole aim of the suit.

Count, that bit in your link about which judge recused himself is . . . fascinating. With the hearing set for Dec 14, I'd guess we'll see the expected restaffing at Justice first thing next Wednesday morning.

https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2018/10/party-calhoun-bothsides

I've always fancied Ulysses S. Grant as a combination of Charles Bukowski (if played in blackface by Rupaul while the latter is seriously in his cups) and Crazy Guggenheim.

But then I've always though Charles Grodin would have made a great George Washington in a film biopic, with Debbie Reynolds in the role of King George III and Mickey Rooney as John Adams.

This is one of several racist, anti-Semitic, white supremacist republican candidates around the country I've read about whose children, grandchildren, mothers, and lawn jockeys are beseeching voters NOT to vote for, for crying out loud.

I expect the candidates to win anyway because the local republican cheats, liars, thieves and vote suppression specialists are targeting the families' ballots for disqualification.

THIS: https://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/election/article220812270.html

Not wanting to pile on, I'll leave it at this

https://www.vox.com/first-person/2018/10/18/17995270/asian-americans-affirmative-action-harvard-admissions-lawsuit

"And, of course, affirmative doesn’t just benefit its recipients. It benefits all students, by exposing them to viewpoints, life stories, and perspectives they might not otherwise encounter — all good things for schools that function as the training ground for the future leaders of an increasingly diverse society."
The impression the universities and their students give is that it's OK to be diverse as long as you have the correct worldview.

Not sure if you noticed in your rush to get a pull quote, but the writer is Chinese-American. This means you have to argue that he’s bought into the majority worldview (meaning he’s assimilated and therefore doesn’t count) or he is just saying that so he doesn’t get oppressed. Either way, it is a way to dismiss his opinion. At the risk of being racist, I’d say this is something white folks are quite good at…

At the risk of being racist, I’d say this is something white folks are quite good at…

Of course, white people are much better at being racist than anyone else...

Of course, white people are much better at being racist than anyone else...

Japanese in Japan? Han Chinese in China? Technology timing gave Europeans a chance to do it on a global scale.

The impression the universities and their students give is that it's OK to be diverse as long as you have the correct worldview.

Assuming there is a “correct worldview,” it may be orthogonal to the benefits of diversity. It shouldn’t be impossible to argue against the benefits of diversity directly, if that’s something you’re inclined to do.

Cf. Title of post…

The impression the universities and their students give is that it's OK to be diverse as long as you have the correct worldview.

So, there is no such thing as an "incorrect" world view? Just what is your point, charles?

It shouldn’t be impossible to argue against the benefits of diversity directly, if that’s something you’re inclined to do.

Precisely and absolutely. Thank you, hsh.

I recommend highly Richard Rothstein's book, The Color of Law. I transcribe the following riposte to those crying in their beer about the concept of reparations or affirmative action...or even, let us be clear, the concept of justice itself (p. 222):

Somebody once said, “Your ancestors weren’t here in 1776, but you eat hot dogs on Fourth of July, don’t you?”

"Americans who preceded us fought for our liberty, sometimes giving their lives for it, yet we benefit without making similar sacrifices. When we become Americans, we accept not only citizenship’s privileges that we did not earn but also its responsibilities to correct wrongs that we did not commit. It was our government that segregated American neighborhoods, whether we or our ancestors bore witness to it, and it is OUR government that now must craft remedies.”

emphasis mine.

Not sure if you noticed in your rush to get a pull quote, but the writer is Chinese-American.

Of course, I noticed that the author is Asian. I wasn't criticizing the author but was using the quote as a lead-in to the observation that everyone is really big on diversity until it comes to opinions, points of view and ideology. To quote the author again:

"These conversations took place in hushed tones — one person literally looked over his shoulder to make sure no one could hear."

And this is not the only subject where people have to be careful about what they say and who they say it to or they risk losing their jobs, professorships, and being crucified on social media.

Universities use to be the place for the free and open expression of ideas. Now, not so much.

The Color of Law is a fine book.

Universities use to be the place for the free and open expression of ideas. Now, not so much.

Bullshit. That is not remotely true.

Admittedly, there are certain universities that fit the bill (the kind founded by Oral Roberts and Jerry Falwell) and certain departments at normal ones that have a tendency towards the ultra-dogmatic (including but not limited to economics).

You say of course, but you pull a quote to make a point the opposite of what he wrote. Color me unsurprised.

Drawing an 'analogy' between the victims of genocide / slavery and of affirmative action is a little bit rich, no? Seriously, wtf?

And I say that as someone very sceptical of affirmative action - I'm for abolishing private education instead.

And this is not the only subject where people have to be careful about what they say and who they say it to or they risk losing their jobs, professorships, and being crucified on social media.

i'm trying to think of a job where i could say anything i wanted to, at any time, with no fear of consequences or criticism. coming up blank.

What LJ said, 05:02.

The more interesting line in the article to me was this one:
Asians in America have long been stereotyped as undistinguishable robotic automatons...
Which seems the weirdest prejudice to still persist.

It is clearly a thing, as this interview in a utterly different context makes clear:
https://slate.com/culture/2018/10/steven-yeun-interview-south-korea-burning-movie.html

Why ?

it's OK to be diverse as long as you have the correct worldview.

Do you think universities are somehow unique in this way?

Do you think that thereally is only one 'correct' worldview, common to all universities, or all departments and programs within even one university?

this is not the only subject where people have to be careful about what they say and who they say it

Nor the only place. Not even among places that 'celebrate diversity'.

In the mind of my tablet's autocomplete feature, 'thereally' is a synonym for 'there'.

As though the pressure to conform is something new, or something that starts at university.

I know, from my wife’s experience, that US schools were far more conformist than those over here - and that was decades ago.

Do you still recite the pledge of allegiance ?

I'm for abolishing private education instead.

This strikes me as a terrible idea. Require that private education thru grammar school and high school include certain specific material (whatever else they want to teach as well)? Sure. But then, we already do that.

But what would be better is to return to a situation where college is available and affordable to everybody. When I was growing up, you could work half time and pay your own way thru school -- I know because I, and my siblings all did so. "Tuition and fees" at the University of California amounted to under $3000 per year (that's current dollars; at the time it was $300). There would still be those who would pay far more for Harvard or Stanford. But they wouldn't get a better education.

When I went through the SUNY system - 78 through 81 - a full load with room and board was $900 a semester.

Yeah, it's just TERRIBLE how liberal ideological conformity is imposed by Engineering schools.

As for tuition, that was way way back in the days before the technique for setting tuition prices was 'whatever the market will bear'.

Capitalism! You're soaking in it. Or soaked by it. One of those.

As for tuition, that was way way back in the days before the technique for setting tuition prices was 'whatever the market will bear'.

Yes, back before tuition got bided up by the government starting to back tens of thousands of dollars in signature loans to young adults who might not qualify for a secured auto loan.

back before tuition got bided up by the government starting to back tens of thousands of dollars in signature loans to young adults who might not qualify for a secured auto loan.

Is that actually the way causality went? Because my sense (memory?) is that funding for state universities got cut first (often as a result of tax cuts reducing state revenues). And then tuition got raised to make up the loss. And finally the loans were created to help provide a way for students to afford the higher costs. (Feel free to provide links to data showing it went otherwise.)

Yet the GI Bill didn't send tuition skyrocketing decades earlier.

Feel free to provide links to data showing it went otherwise.

"Several recent studies have found evidence that other federal student aid programs drive of tuition increases. A 2015 study found that a dollar of subsidized (non-PLUS) student loans increases published tuition by 58 cents at a typical college, with larger effects once reductions in institutional financial aid are taken into account. An NBER paper issued last year concluded that changes to federal student loans are more than sufficient to explain tuition increases at private nonprofit colleges. And a 2014 analysis found that for-profit colleges eligible for federal student aid charged tuition 78% higher than that of similar but aid-ineligible institutions.
...
"Unlike most other student loan programs, PLUS loans are not capped—parents may borrow up to the cost of attendance, which is determined by the college. This creates incentives for colleges to increase student charges, since the federal government will make sure all eligible parents have access to the money. And PLUS loans take the lid off any tuition constraints that the caps on other loan programs might impose: since colleges know students can fall back on PLUS if they exhaust their traditional student loans, tuition may keep rising in spite of those caps."

How Unlimited Student Loans Drive Up Tuition


Yet the GI Bill didn't send tuition skyrocketing decades earlier.

I don't know. Perhaps the universities had a enough empty seats that the increased demand didn't put much pressure on supply.

"By 1950, the number of college graduates nearly tripled to 432,058. This was due to the passing of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act in 1944, more popularly known as the GI Bill. This legislation provided for veterans of the Second World War to attend college using federal benefits. Even with these additional numbers, the percentage of adults 25 and older in the U.S. with a college degree was still only 8 percent. Half of these numbers were veterans and 328,841 of them were men.
...
"By 1970, the number of college graduates just receiving bachelor degrees had increased to 839,730. Although more than half were men (475,594), the number of women earning a college degree had tripled in just twenty years. By this time, 68 percent of federal aid to college students was in the form of grants. The cost for college had not significantly increased by this point and a Pell Grant could cover approximately two-thirds of tuition annually at many universities."

Rising Tuition Costs and the History of Student Loans

https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2018/09/why-is-college-so-expensive-in-america/569884/

like the dance, or rebels....contra charles

Perhaps the universities had a enough empty seats that the increased demand didn't put much pressure on supply.

Ha!

What actually happened was a massive building program. After WW II, the University of California went from 3 campuses (Berkeley, UCLA, and UC San Diego, plus an agricultural college at Davis) to 8 in 1965 (adding Santa Barbara, Riverside, Irvine and Santa Cruz; plus Davis had become a general purpose campus as well). Ir has since added an 9th in Merced. (Note, there is also a medical schools in San Francisco, but it doesn't do undergraduate education.)

Meanwhile the California State College system expanded enormously as well.

Essentially, supply was deliberately expanded to meet increased demand. See also
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Master_Plan_for_Higher_Education

Essentially, supply was deliberately expanded to meet increased demand.

Thus keeping tuition fees from rising. Empty seats increased as fast or faster than demand.

That Atlantic article bobbyp linked to has some interesting distinctions and points that I think bear focusing upon.

It does a good job of distinguishing between public and private non-profit universities and for-profit universities, which is one of the things I noticed in the article that CharlesWT quoted. Of course the for-profit schools are juicing their profits by saddling their students with debt - that's their MO. And private schools tend to either brand themselves as elite schools or as smaller Liberal Arts colleges. Where the former are concerned, the two things that signal an elite school are cost and test scores, so their brand is dependent on keeping their cost as high as can be sustained.

Public research universities, meanwhile, are making up for the loss of state revenues by admitting more out-of-state and international students (as the article mentions). But admitting internationals also means building up a larger staff of administrators and of L2 instructors to help mainstream the international students, and the additional time required to mainstream has a knock-on effect for teaching the required courses. All that work - especially on the humanities side, is very labor intensive. To manage that, they have to hire a lot of adjunct labor to keep costs down (hello). And if they do this in the required entry-level classes at sufficient scale, they can also shrink their student/teacher ratio and move up in the rankings.

But the public R1s are not increasing tuition in response to available student loans. There's a bit of a disconnect there between the other two and the public schools. The driver at the public schools is a combination of lost state revenues and of non-instructional administrative bloat.

Thus keeping tuition fees from rising. Empty seats increased as fast or faster than demand.

Exactly. Fees went up later, not due to increased demand but to reduced state support.

Public research universities, meanwhile, are making up for the loss of state revenues by admitting more out-of-state and international students (as the article mentions). But admitting internationals also means building up a larger staff of administrators and of L2 instructors to help mainstream the international students, and the additional time required to mainstream has a knock-on effect for teaching the required courses. All that work - especially on the humanities side, is very labor intensive.

It makes me nervous when an explanation of cost is blamed on immigrants or international students, etc., because unless we saw a specific study, we're not sure whether the international students are paying for the extra labor they require, or whether colleges are scrimping on other things in order to accommodate them, or whether international students' tuition is actually saving the system by subsidizing the rest of the works.

In other words, I'm not sure whether you've worked out all of this in what you're saying here.

By the way, further to my 9:48, I think it's hard to work this out. It's work for a devoted and educated economist, and I'm not that. We need them. We need people who have learned the things that universities teach, and I'm afraid of the current environment that is trying to minimize the value of this knowledge, and these skills.

Sapient - at my university the international students subsidize the low-income first-generation students from the state. Both these populations have increased together and the campus has grown to accommodate them.

But that growth in admissions has other effects that will need to be dealt with later down the road because the increases also mean capital projects and non-instructional administrative growth. I don't know if this is sustainable.

Also, given the current state of our international relations in the US, I'm not confident that universities will be able to count on an uninterrupted stream of international students and if there is an interruption (or interference) I think that the capital and administrative costs will remain and the axe will fall on the instructional staff and faculty.

None of which even begins to get into the ethics of how to treat our international students and the legacies of global capitalism and colonialism that shape this current dynamic.

I don't know if this is sustainable.

I don't either, and I am leaving this discussion with more questions than answers. I do know a lot of students, and graduate students. I've also known many international students. I wouldn't want to deprive any of them of their educational experience, or the experience of being exposed to each other. I feel that we should continue to try to make higher education sustainable (and more accessible). It's vital to what we should be as a society. (And, yes, our current political situation is working against this.)

at my university the international students subsidize the low-income first-generation students from the state.

Also very much the case in the UK that overseas students effectively subsidise everyone else.

An excerpt from bobbyp's Atlantic link:

Associate’s degrees from for-profit universities lead to smaller salary bumps than associate’s degrees from community colleges, which are cheaper. And two-thirds of students at for-profits drop out before earning their degree anyway, meaning many will spend years struggling with debt they cannot afford to pay off—and cannot, under U.S. law, off-load through bankruptcy.

The wonders of the profit motive!

My curiosity was piqued, so I started looking for some more info on for-profit schools. This article was one of the first hits. Check out the accompanying photo.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/schoolboard/2018/03/19/for-profit-colleges-teachable-moment-terrible-outcomes-are-very-profitable/#74dc00e140f5

Just one more government service that the capitalists have decided to disrupt and exploit for massive profits.

I would blame the current administration, which is after all completely invested in this sector, but the truth is that the last two were almost as poor on this front.

"Education reform" has been a massive grift for two decades at the very least.

Just one more government service that the capitalists have decided to disrupt and exploit for massive profits.

The concentration camps that Trump is building are a huge gift to the private prison sector. If we can get a foothold on Tuesday, it has to be a priority to stop this, or it will never go away. If we don't make headway on Tuesday, we still need to do something, but I am not able to organize what that something is.

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