Just as a random check, look at the per pupil funding in Boston area, and you can confirm that spending is generally more per pupil - sometimes substantially more - than in the wealthy near suburbs, although of course the educational outcomes are night and day: http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/statereport/ppx.aspx
52% of current K-12 students are non-white and 48% are white. At what percent of the population do non-white students have to reach before there is no longer an advantage to being a minority in college admissions?
After these court decisions (Bakke, Fisher), what remains is not affirmative action, but a policy that merely ensures that the experiences of students of color are considered alongside those of white applicants, not one that involves racial preferences or, unfortunately, comes anywhere close to addressing centuries of past oppression and ongoing racial discrimination.
A true “race-neutral” approach would remove these preferences for white students in college admissions and re-imagine how merit is assessed in college admissions.
I go back to the idea of an applicant - let's say Vietnamese - writing an essay that refers to his parents' journey to the US after the war. Or about visiting the war memorial in DC - or anything that makes it clear he is Vietnamese.
Is an admissions office allowed to read that essay? If not, what is lost?
That's the portion they want you to focus on.
...because you are then arguing about the seats left over after athlete, legacy, development etc have played a significant role in the admission of roughly half the class.
"Arguing over crumbs" would definitely be putting it too strongly, yet that's the phrase that comes to mind.
What I found that was hard to quantify is that there were some students with average to below average test scores (20-23 range on the ACT) that turned out to be much smarter that those test scores, much smarter. I am not sure if it was because of inferior high schools, or whether they were late bloomers, but a couple of those kids came out of nowhere. One of my good friends with a middling standardized test score ended up getting a dual degree diploma from Morehouse/Georgia Tech and getting his masters at MIT. I have some idea why his test scores were below my own (kind of a late bloomer when it came to caring about school, but found motivation in being around African American men like himself) but I think some African American kids fall through the cracks that HBCUs can sometimes catch and mold into something unexpected
Gee, it's almost like standardized test scores don't tell the whole story about a student's academic potential.
Now why has that never come up before?
With the HBCUs we are not talking about all students coming out of public schools, but rather specifically black students, as that is the mission of the institutions. To say that public schools are not failing them is to stick one's head in the sand. And we are not talking about obsessing over grades and test scores, but rather the basics. Here is the "broad brush":
The key figure is not the portion of K-12 students that are that race. A more relevant metric is whether that race is over or underrepresented at a particular college compared to the portion of K-12 students. For example, in California public schools ~54% of K-12 students are Hispanic and ~23% are White. Hispanic students have outnumbered White students for quite some time, yet Hispanic students were still treated as URMs in CA public college admissions until prop 209 because the Hispanic students were underrperensented at UCs compared to expected portion based on the large number of Hispanic HS students. Similarly a race may be considered a URM at one college, but not another. For example, Asian students are overrepresented at most HYPSM... type colleges, yet underrepresented and treated as an URM at some LACs.
@ChangeTheGame I am afraid that racial preferences damage any chance at overcoming the divisions, prejudices and discrimination that occur in our society. When so many people disagree with the practice, it causes division that may not have existed otherwise, because it just moves the pain of discrimination to another group. Even for those who would argue that racial preferences are not a form of discrimination against other groups, if some people in those groups perceive it to be discrimination, does that help bring us any closer to racial unity in our society?
It's more complex than that. Some students are fit for college. Some aren't. The population you reference (and the one used to determine affirmative action benefits) contains many students not fit for college. The groups that are underrepresented in college are overrepresented in the "not fit for college" category.
It doesn't make sense to admit students into college who are not fit for college. Either get them up to college level or let them choose alternative paths.