NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


January 10, 2008

Under a new system of "comprehensive review," the University of California Board of Admissions is bowing to the modern liberal piety known as "diversity," says the Wall Street Journal.


  • The Board is proposing to lower to 2.8 from 3.0 the minimum grade point average for admission to a UC school; that 3.0 GPA standard has been in place for 40 years.
  • Students would also no longer be required to take the SAT exams that test for knowledge of specific subjects, such as history and science.
  • The plan would grant admissions officers more discretion to evade the ban on race and gender preferences imposed by California voters.

One loser here would be the principle of merit-based college admissions.  That principle has served the state well over the decades, helping to make some of its universities among the world's finest, says the Journal:

  • Since Proposition 209 -- which banned race and gender preferences -- Asian-American students have done especially well, with students of Asian ethnicity at the University of California, Los Angeles, (UCLA) nearly doubling to 42 percent from 22 percent.
  • Immigrants and the children of immigrants now outnumber native-born whites in most UC schools, so being a member of an ethnic minority is clearly not an inherent admissions handicap.

The other big losers would be the overall level of achievement demanded in California public elementary and high schools:

  • A UCLA study documents that the educational achievement gap between black and Latino children and whites and Asians is increasing in California at a troubling pace.
  • Graduation rates are falling fastest for blacks and Latinos, as many of them are stuck in the state's worst public schools.

The way to close that gap is by introducing more accountability and choice to raise achievement standards, says the Journal, not surrendering and reducing standards for everyone.

Source: Editorial, "Defining Diversity Down," Wall Street Journal, January 9, 2008.


Browse more articles on Education Issues