Education

"The truth about 'holistic' college admissions"

Sara Harberson, who "worked in admissions at the University of Pennsylvania and at Franklin & Marshall College":

In all, holistic admissions adds subjectivity to admissions decisions, and the practice makes it difficult to explain who gets in, who doesn't, and why. But has holistic admissions become a guise for allowing cultural and even racial biases to dictate the admissions process?

To some degree, yes.

As an admissions professional, I gave students, families and guidance counselors a list of what it took to be admitted — the objective expectations of a competitive applicant. I didn't mention that racial stereotyping, money, connections and athletics sometimes overshadow these high benchmarks we all promoted. The veil of holistic admissions allows for these other factors to become key elements in a student's admissions decision.

My wife teaches a high school government and politics class. When she covers affirmative action and talks about how the policy is intended to help disadvantaged minorities, her Asian students perk up. Some even smile. And she tells them sorry, but Asians aren't considered a disadvantaged minority. They say, essentially, "WTF?!" She then has what ed school types call a teachable moment.


"How to Open the Mind of a College Graduate"

A good idea from Thomas Sowell.

My own favorite approach to controversial issues, going back to my teaching days, is to confront students with the strongest arguments available on opposite sides of these issues. The point of this approach is not to feed the students prepackaged conclusions, but to force them to seek facts and apply logic, in their own attempts to resolve complex and important controversies. . . .

My suggestion would be to give young people a subscription to both the New York Times and Investor’s Business Daily. Seeing how the editorial pages of these newspapers clash, day after day on issue after issue, should build up some mental muscles that students seldom get from being mental couch potatoes on politically correct campuses, where one viewpoint fits all.


"Distrust and Disorder: A Racial Equity Policy Summons Chaos in the St. Paul Schools"

Epically sad.

Two years ago, kids who'd spent their academic lives in specialized classrooms for behavioral issues and cognitive disabilities were mainstreamed into general classes, along with all the kids who spoke English as a second language. More than 3,000 made the transition.

The district also shifted its thinking on discipline, influenced by data that showed black kids being suspended at alarming rates. Such punishment would now come as a last resort. Instead, disruptive or destructive students would essentially receive a 20-minute timeout, receive counseling by a "behavioral coach," then return to class when they calmed down.

Guess--go ahead, guess--what happened. 

Link via Economics Job Market Rumors.