Racial Preference in the Higher Learning Institutions

Words: 1106
Topic: Education

Title, author source, and date of the article

The newspaper article entitled Colleges Seek New Paths to Diversity after Court Ruling was obtained from the New York Times edition dated 22nd day of April 2014. Tamar Lewin authored the article.

Summary of main points in the article

The article reports and addresses the aspect of racial preference in the admission of students to higher learning institutions. This followed a Supreme Court ruling that supported the prohibition of college admissions based on race in Michigan State (Lewin par. 1). For a long time, Michigan State has employed the race factor in the admission of learners to tertiary institutions. The argument advanced by proponents of race-based admissions is that the practice provides the best way of promoting diversity in institutions of higher learning. Even after Michigan’s Supreme Court made its ruling, the discourse on race-based preferences in the education sector is far from over. Some educators argue that as much as there are a number of other variables that can be used to promote diversity in learning institutions, they may not be effective at all (Lewin par. 7).

Most of the top brass officials in higher education were not pleased by the Supreme Court’s verdict. They felt that such a court decision would jolt them further in the process of seeking optional measures to cultivate diversity among students. It is also expected that the court ruling may have a spiral or ripple effect in other states that are still condoning race-based admission criteria for learners in colleges.

Relationship to course readings, objectives, implications, diversity and inclusion

From the course readings and the overall course objectives, the newspaper article is of great significance in solidifying some of the pertinent issues of diversity learned in class. To begin with, the newspaper article highlights a long term issue that has affected the education sector in American society. Diversity, in itself, is a powerful tool that can be used to enhance socio-economic development in any society. However, it is crucial to mention that there are myriads of challenges that can hamper the relevance of diversity in the contemporary world. The issue of diversity in education can be approached from various perspectives. In the above case, it is evident that the admission of students based on race is still a hotly debated issue. Perhaps, using race as an admission criterion might not be readily accommodated across the board, bearing in mind that there is a negative connotation attached to racism in America.

Another critical factor that surfaces from the course readings and objectives is social equity. It is largely anticipated that any admission criteria into higher learning institutions should be fair to all students irrespective of their racial backgrounds. As it stands out from the New York Times article, the Latinos, blacks, and other minority groups feel short-changed by the race-based admission criteria. It appears that white students are mainly admitted to the top 500 tertiary institutions in the United States, while the minority groups mainly land in “open-admission” colleges. Social equity ought to prevail whenever diversity is put into account.

We may not also ignore the role played by diversity in enriching our cultures. Diversity and culture are inseparable because they compliment each other. A society that is racially diverse is also well endowed with cultural wealth. In particular, our traditions can be an important part of social wellbeing because the same traditions create a culturally diverse environment enjoyed by every member of society. Needless to say, we ought to adopt tactics that generate diversity in the most effective manner. Prohibiting all forms of racial preferences that tend to discriminate against others is a noble idea. There are a number of key tenets of diversity and inclusion in education that can be derived from the course readings in relation to the above newspaper article. These have been explained below:

  • The educational experience of both students and educators is enriched by diversity. We learn a lot from different viewpoints and belief systems.
  • Personal growth is also promoted by diversity. In other words, it can be used as a perfect platform for challenging stereotyped preconceptions. Diversity also makes it easy for human beings to interact effectively among themselves.
  • Workplaces and communities are strengthened when diversity is used appropriately.

The above assertions indicate that diversity should generate positive outcomes in society. Individuals who argue either in favor or disagreement with racial-based admissions do so with the aim of promoting social equity and growth. The following three open questions can promote the discussion of the newspaper article identified from the New York Times:

  1. Do you think a ban on race-based preferences in the admission of students will provide a long term solution towards diversity in colleges? Please discuss.
  2. Explain some of the alternative methods that educators can put in place to promote diversity in higher education.
  3. What should be the main tenets of affirmative action in the pursuit of positive diversity in education?

Possible answers to the above questions

  1. Admitting students in colleges based on their race is a completely wrong step in the right direction, especially in a racially-polarized society like America. The Supreme Court ruling must have come at the most appropriate time because it will provide the way forward and the right direction for senior leaders in education. Sincerely speaking, diversity is likely to be promoted in higher learning institutions in Michigan State and other regions that have banned the practice. We may not console ourselves when the race factor is applied in the admission of students.
  2. New diversity paths should be sought by higher learning institutions. For instance, the level of income among students can be used as a benchmark in the admission criteria. Learners can also be admitted based on high school performance from all sub-regions within a state. When it comes to an academic performance from all the represented regions, no learner can be discriminated based on the color of the skin. In addition, students from low-income households should be given an equal chance to join top colleges through scholarships.
  3. It is vital to mention that affirmative action has been politicized for long to the detriment of its well-intended purpose. Students from minority groups and low-income families can only be assisted through affirmative action. The implementers of affirmative action policy should make use of both economic and sociological aspects as the main tenets. Education for all in society is a crucial area of concern. Therefore, race should hardly be included as one of the considerations because one racial group may feel disadvantaged by another. Worse still, the race has been abused for long in the provision of basic human services.

Works Cited

Lewin, Tamar. Colleges Seek New Paths to Diversity after Court Ruling. 2014. Web.