As the U.S. Supreme Court is set to consider cases surrounding whether racial background should be a factor for consideration in college
admissions, questions about the efficacy of affirmative action programs came up as a topic of discussion during a recent debate between legal academics.
event, held at the John Marshall Law School, featured UCLA Law
Professor Richard Sander, whose 2005 article in the Stanford Law Review
is credited for bringing attention to the theory of “mismatch”, which
says affirmative action can actually hurt those it was intended to help
by allowing them to attend schools for which they are not academically
prepared, consequentially causing them to struggle in such institutions.
contends that students with qualifications falling below the standards of a
school would be better served if they attended an institution with
standards more in line with their academic abilities.
even that although affirmative action helped to
allow more minority students obtain a higher education, it has now
drifted from its original mission by focusing more on racial preferences
alone, and less on socioeconomic factors.
“We largely see
preferences tending to reward students from very affluent backgrounds,”
Sander said. “I think affirmative action has strayed from its original
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