Bill Whalen: Politi-Cal

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UCs: Admitting There’s a Problem

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Over at The Weekly Standard’s web site, I have a piece on the various moving parts of the University of California system.

That would include the very public protests over increased student fees and some, shall we say, “creative” uses of student fees on the UCLA campus.

Not to mention how the UC is trying new ways to make do with less, such as bringing in more out-of-state students (for the higher tuition), offering more courses online and trying to move more kids through the undergrad pipeline in three years, not four.

My particular concern is the changing guidelines for UC admissions.

It seems officials want to broaden the pool of California high-schoolers it’ll consider, from top 12-1/2% that’s been in place for the past half-century to the top 20% of h.s. classes.

It’s ditched the requirement that applicants take two SAT subject tests (i.e., history and a language).

The goal is what UC President Mark Yudof likes to call a more “holistic” review process. That means less importance placed on test performance, and greater consideration to life experience and life circumstances — on other words, offering admissions to high-schoolers who otherwise would have been rejected in a traditional point-based formula.

The bottom line: since its passage in 1996, California academics have tried to find ways to work around Proposition 209, which prohibited California public universities from engaging in racial quotas. While “holistic” doesn’t violate the law, it does push the envelope.

And, I worry, it distracts from the lingering that just won’t go away: those underperforming K-12 schools that deprive kids of a quality education, and put them at a disadvantage come admission-time .


Written by Bill Whalen

April 6, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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