Affirmative Action … and our failed school system

Why do we always look at the end to solve a problem instead of heading it off at the pass?  Why not fix it at the beginning?  Case in point….affirmative action and colleges!

Yesterday the Supreme Court upheld (plurality vote) Michigan’s ban on affirmative action.  Naturally, it has provoked much debate (and even dissension) as the nation debates whether the decision is right or wrong, fair or unfair.

Many argue affirmative action is necessary to level the playing field (especially due to generations of inequality) while others say disadvantage comes in many ways, not just race and thus the attempted leveling of the playing field by affirmative action is unfair.

As I understand it, the original purpose of affirmative action was to help minority youths, often disadvantaged due to background, get into college (somewhat relaxed standards) and to provide the majority of students with the enriched academic environment of having minority student colleagues rather than merely replicas of themselves.

But….one of the big reasons we HAVE this argument now about affirmative action is because our education system is failing and has failed.  Affirmative action deals with the end of the problem — college admissions. If you just deal with the end, it is going to go on and on on and on.

Because of awful education backgrounds, many students – especially minorities in rotten school districts – are not as competitive in college admissions, hence the use of affirmative action.

Imagine if we addressed the problem aggressively, headed it off at the pass, when students are young, and cleaned up our grade schools and high schools so students were competitive for college admissions.  And I mean REALLY fixed our grade schools and high schools, corrected whatever stands in the way of real learning.  I know it is a big problem, a big challenge, but let’s face it, whatever we are doing now  in many public grade schools and high schools is not working – or is working for so few as to be an American disgrace.  Don’t we want everyone to have a chance? Doesn’t that enrich all of us?

Let’s start fixing problems, really fixing, at the beginning of the problems.

PS Why are success rates in Catholic schools and charter schools so much higher than in so many public schools?  If I ran a public school, and I had lousy learning statistics, I would be taking notes from the successful schools and work to copy them.

[By the way, in Wisconsin?  They have re-instated a public school teacher, with $200,000 back pay, who was suspended for downloading porn on school equipment, watching it and passing it around during school hours.]

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