NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Effects Of The California Governor's Quota Plan

January 8, 1999

Critics say the plan proposed by California Gov. Gray Davis (D) to admit the top 4 percent of every state high school graduating class to the University of California system is nothing but a quota plan in disguise.

Experts envision at least four predictable effects of the plan if it is approved by the UC Board of Regents in March:

  • With about 3,500 more students expected to enroll at UC campuses, one or perhaps two more colleges would have to be built around 2005 -- necessitating more taxes and higher tuition.
  • Unqualified students from mediocre schools would squeeze out qualified students.
  • Smart high school juniors and seniors who may not be able to make the 4 percent cut would be tempted to transfer to less challenging schools in order to qualify.
  • The least qualified admitted under the 4 percent quota would be in over their heads and tempted to drop out -- thus encouraging UC officials to lower the school's standards in order to keep the drop-out rate low.

The real culprit behind such schemes, experts observe, is the poor quality of too many of California's public elementary and secondary schools. But that problem extends beyond California's borders.

Source: Editorial, "No 4% Solution," Investor's Business Daily, January 8, 1999.


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