Posted by David A. Lehrer
The following appears in today’s Sacramento Bee. It relates to a bill that is pending on Governor Brown’s desk.
In mid-March many Californians smirked when the Texas Board of Education adopted a social studies curriculum that aimed to alter its textbooks to rewrite history to suit an ideological agenda.
Well no more smirking for me. Not only do we in California similarly impose a political agenda on our histories, we’ve been doing it for a long time.
The recent passage of Senate Bill 48 – mandating the inclusion of the contributions of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender Americans in instructional materials used in California – prompted research into the California Education Code sections that will be affected.
The California code, not unlike Texas, seeks to mold history’s narrative to suit political and social aims and betrays no subtlety in doing it. California’s policies unabashedly proclaim that among the purposes of our textbooks is “to develop a feeling of pride in his or her (student’s) heritage; develop a feeling of self-worth related to equality of opportunity.” Noble goals but wrongheaded means.
History is not a therapeutic device to serve the agenda of this or that group – to swell pride and self-worth – that’s Mommy and Daddy’s job. As the late historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. noted, “The use of history as therapy means the corruption of history as history.” SB 48 expands the Education Code mandates for “culturally and racially diverse groups” to include lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender folks and requires that they be “accurately portrayed,” an inarguably noble goal.
But within a few lines of extolling accuracy, SB 48 warns that no “textbook or other instructional materials shall contain any matter reflecting adversely” upon the persons portrayed. The state’s “standards” further warn that when ethnic or cultural groups are portrayed, their “customs … (must not be shown) as undesirable and must not reflect adversely on such differences.” Either historians portray history and the groups that have made history “accurately” or they mold what they write so as not to “reflect adversely” on the groups and their customs; they can’t do both. Our leaders are trying to craft a Disneyland version of history – a veritable Fantasyland – everything is going to be both accurate and positive.
Can the genocide in Rwanda, widespread use of female genital mutilation or forced marriages of children be presented without “reflecting adversely” on “differences” in customs? Can the Crusades, the Inquisition or the wars of the Middle Ages be taught without “reflecting adversely” on the religious groups involved? Impossible.
Maybe it’s time to stop this silliness and ask that our textbooks take a fresh, honest look at history; recount the roles of all relevant groups without political embellishment or distortion.
As Abraham Lincoln observed, “history is not history unless it is the truth.”
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July 12, 2011 | 12:42 pm
Posted by David A. Lehrer
A seismic shift occurred last week that has not received the attention it deserves.
The National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers’ union, voted to allow standardized test scores to be included as a part of the evaluation of the teachers it represents. This, from a union that has consistently opposed anything resembling meaningful education reform.
Historically, the NEA has viewed the teacher—school district relationship as if it fit in the industrial model of labor relations (i.e. its members were all the same and only seniority and courses taken distinguished one from another). There was no acknowledgment that some teachers are better and deserve recognition and that education reform need not be a zero sum game.
In The New Republic, Kevin Carey has outlined the radical change that the NEA’s recent vote represents especially given its decades’ long battle opposing rational teacher evaluation. As Carey explains, the contradictory nature of its position became untenable,
Teachers’ unions were caught in a contradiction. They needed to make a strong general case for the importance of teachers—otherwise, why hire more of them to reduce class sizes? Why increase their pay? At the same time, they needed to deny the variable importance of individual teachers—otherwise, why shouldn’t the best get paid more money? Why should the worst be allowed to teach at all? Once those doors opened, the whole system of unity through uniformity would be at risk.
Raw political power worked for a while. When the Bloomberg administration proposed using test scores to decide whether New York City teachers should get lifetime job security, the union ran to the state legislature and made the plan illegal. When California Democrat George Miller—as stalwart a defender of organized labor as one can find in the United States Congress—proposed new federal policies aimed at tying teacher pay to performance, he was chastised in a public hearing by Reg Weaver, then the president of the NEA.
But in the long run, the NEA couldn’t keep fighting on every front. Journalist Steven Brill published a long, influential New Yorker article about the New York City teachers’ union’s role in keeping alcoholics, incompetents, and malcontents on the public payroll (as did NPR and The New Republic’s Seyward Darby, among others). In Los Angeles, the local union opposed an ACLU lawsuit aimed at ending the school district’s practice of laying off teachers based on seniority instead of performance. When an ostensibly liberal group finds itself alienating NPR listeners, New Yorker readers, and ACLU donors, it is in a lonely place indeed.
Facing the incoherence of its position, the NEA has joined the rational and just adopted a policy that they acknowledge:
outlines a system to help teachers improve instruction and meet students’ needs. It offers sweeping changes to build a true profession of teaching that is focused on high expectations….. it supports the use of standardized tests if they are of proven high quality and provide meaningful measures of student learning and growth.”
As The New Republic noted, “the era of unity through uniformity is drawing to a close.” Amen.
July 8, 2011 | 5:15 pm
Posted by Joe R. Hicks
Sometime before the end of this month, and barring some fortunate happening, a motley collection of about ten boats is set to sail from a port in Greece, bound for Gaza, despite a long-standing Israeli naval blockade.
On board the flotilla will be an equally motley collection of leftists, Pro-Palestinian activists, and self-styled peace advocates carrying placards with messages like “free Gaza” and “end the siege.” The lead boat will be called “The Audacity of Hope.”
This attempt to evade the Israeli navy’s blockade of Gaza is being described as a “relief operation,” and is a carbon-copy of last year’s similar attempt that was also a transparently political effort.
That attempt ended with nine dead activists when Israeli commandos fought back after boarding one of the boats – only to be greeted by armed and violent “peace” activists.
This year, about thirty Americans – including a number of American Jews – are scheduled to sail with the flotilla, and the U.S. State Department has warned the band of Americans that they may face “arrest, prosecution, and deportation by the government of Israel.”
Who are these Americans?
Among them are hard-core left activists like Medea Benjamin, retired lieutenant colonel Ann Wright-turned activist, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker. Of course, she’s best-known for her bookThe Color Purple
. Walker says she’s been a Pro-Palestinian activist since the days following the Six Day War in 1967. She also thinks Israel “Is the greatest terrorist” in the Middle East. Not stopping while she was behind, Walker added, “And I think in general, the United States and Israel are great terrorist organizations themselves. If you go to Gaza and see … the general destruction ... that’s terrorism. So these countries are terrorist countries.”
Okay, if I were her … I’d stick to writing.
I suppose she has looked right past Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Libyan government, and the brutal, repressive Syrian regime to identify the Jews as the “greatest” terrorists in the region. I suppose the fact that Israel is the only democracy in that region fails to register with her.
This gives insight into the politics of the activists on board this flotilla of fools.
Since the residents of Gaza are literally awash in all sorts of goods that Israel has allowed in – despite the blockade – the ongoing claim that this flotilla’s aim is to deliver “humanitarian aid” is one large joke.
This flotilla really has only one aim … to deliver a propaganda victory to Hamas.
Christopher Hitchens recently informed his readers at Slate that – beyond being the Palestinian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood – Hamas has endorsed theProtocols of the Elders of Zion
, one of the oldest anti-Semitic screeds in existence that was used by Hitler as a rationale for his attempts to exterminate Jews.
Hamas was also the world’s only government body to officially express sympathy to – and outrage – over the killing of Osama bin Laden.
The Americans on board these boats won’t be able to claim ignorance if the Israeli military decides to put the “smack down” on this so-called flotilla. If they set sail for Gaza they do so in support of Hamas - a political movement with blood on its hands. Hamas has glorified suicide bombings and the random killings of innocent Israeli men, women and children.
Alice Walker and her comrades deserve whatever fate awaits them.
July 1, 2011 | 4:17 pm
Posted by David A. Lehrer
Ethnic and religious advocacy groups’ reports are not known for their academic rigor or careful sourcing—-those qualities are neither part of their mission nor their goals. Their aims are, understandably, more narrow and self-serving.
Academic centers at universities, on the other hand, ought not to be in the business of hyperbole and exaggeration, especially in the sensitive field of racial and ethnic advocacy. And yet, last week an academic unit of the University of California, Berkeley—-the Center for Race and Gender (“CRG”)—-authored sections of a religious advocacy group’s report that are, literally, the antithesis of intellectual, rigorous, or even quasi-academic research—-they are, instead, inflammatory and irresponsible.
The Council on American Islamic Relations just issued its first annual report on Islamophobia in the United States, Same Hate, New Target. The report is a troubling cataloguing of incidents of vandalism, nasty rhetoric and violence directed at Muslim Americans that have occurred across the country during 2010.
As in many of these types of anecdotal, “trend in bigotry” reports, the incidents vary from the incidental (“opponents of the proposed mosque cited fear of radical Islam as a motivation for opposition”) to the serious (“firebomb planted and detonated outside mosque while approximately 60 people were inside”). The report’s conclusion is that on a 1 to 10 scale (with 10 representing “the worst possible situation for Muslims”) Islamophobia in America stands at 6.5.
The report lacks any polling data or other metrics that would confirm the rather dire picture it portrays; it presents the “Islamophobic” incidents and works from there. Given the nature of CAIR and its agenda it is hardly surprising that it reaches the conclusions it does or that its methodology leaves something to be desired.
What is most troubling in the report are the sections written by the study’s co-author, Berkeley’s Center for Race and Gender (“CRG”). The CRG purports to be a center of research:
The Center for Race and Gender (CRG) is an interdisciplinary research center at the University of California Berkeley that fosters explorations of race and gender, and their intersections. CRG cultivates critical and engaged research and exchange among faculty and students throughout the university, between the university and nearby communities of color, and among scholars in the Bay Area, in the US, and around the globe.
CRG’s two sections of the report are as distant from the kind of document one expects from an “academic” unit of the one of the world’s great universities as a high school student’s term paper is from a doctoral dissertation. They are insulting in their assertions, their methodology and their inanity. They offer facile assumptions and claims of causality without any evidence whatsoever——the very antithesis of what academic research is all about.
We are not statistical mavens, but we do know that at their heart the quantitative research and methodology that academics utilize are aimed at testing hypotheses in such a way that valid inferences can be drawn from empirical evidence. The last thing academics—-quantitative or otherwise—-ought to be doing is make assertions and claim causality without offering evidence to buttress their claims. You don’t need a PhD or an academic posting to be a blowhard.
The academics at the CRG must be operating under different rules. Their sections of the report are conclusory, undocumented, inflammatory and call into question the judgment of any “academic” who signed off on this document.
Admittedly, race and gender studies are fraught with mushiness and jargon that boggles mere mortals’ minds (“intersectionality” is one such bit of choice verbiage); but even in that realm this report is a lulu.
The report baldly asserts with no footnotes, citations, or other corroboration the following daisy chain of causality and allegations of venality. Islamophobes in the United States have as their aim “the disenfranchise[ment] of the growing American Muslim community” which will lead to “isolation and distrust of the American Muslim community by the broader American society” which “isolation can push American Muslim youth toward disenchantment and marginalization, which can be manipulated into senseless extremism and violence.”
Just in case the reader might miss the incendiary assertion, the CRG makes it clear it’s all about money and nefarious legislators who, ultimately, will be responsible for the violent blowback—-“Islamophobia can be seen as designed, in part, to attempt to promote radicalization in American Muslim community, providing further rationalization for the ‘domestic war on terror’ and all the funding and resources connected to it.”
Get it? If you are defined as an “Islamophobe” you are really interested in promoting violence so you can enact laws to prevent violence and terror. It doesn’t make sense in a short version, and is equally illogical in its long form.
The report proceeds, with an equal absence of rigor, to ascribe the success of Tea Party candidates in 2010 to, you guessed it, Islamophobia. “Islamophobia worked as planned and Tea Party and Republicans in general rode the effects to statistical margins of victory in key races.” No analysis, sourcing or other effort to buttress an assertion that flies in the face of analyses that ascribe the Tea Party successes to multiple, complex, reasons—-including the economy, the high unemployment rate, the House vote on Cap and Trade, etc.
Either the budget crisis in California has already taken a toll on the intellectual heft and rigor at the University of California’s flagship school, Berkeley, or the CRG is an enclave that is patronizingly allowed to “do its thing” without the minimal trappings of academic inquiry. Either explanation is not particularly satisfying.
Whatever the reason, the CRG’s report is an embarrassment to the great name of the University of California and shouldn’t be tolerated; especially when funded by increasingly scarce tax dollars.
June 23, 2011 | 3:07 pm
Posted by David A. Lehrer
A 1961 Kurt Vonnegut short story, Harrison Bergeron, begins with these words,
The year was 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United State Handicapper General.
The story of Harrison continues:
Harrison Bergeron …had just escaped from jail where he was held on suspicion of plotting to overthrow the government. He is a genius and an athlete, is under-handicapped, and should be regarded as extremely dangerous. A police photograph of Harrison was flashed on the screen—-upside down, then sideways, upside down again, then right side up. The picture showed the full length of Harrison against a background calibrated in feet and inches. He was seven feet tall.
The rest of Harrison’s appearance was Halloween and hardware. Nobody had ever borne heavier handicaps. He had outgrown hindrances faster than the H-G (Handicapper General) men could think them up. Instead of a little car radio for a mental handicap, he wore a tremendous pair of earphones, and spectacles with thick wavy lenses. The spectacles were intended to make him not only half blind, but to give him whanging headaches besides.
I hadn’t read Harrison Bergeron in decades, but I couldn’t help thinking about it yesterday as I read the story of Aaron Scheidies, who, like Harrison is “an athlete and is under-handicapped”; except for one thing, he is legally blind. Scheidies has won six world championships and seven national titles in triathlon events. He also holds a doctorate in physical therapy. He has been ranked the number one “physically challenged athlete in the world. Scheidies lost his vision as a result of macular degeneration.
For non-sports followers, the triathlon is a variety of distance events that include swimming, cycling and running. They vary in distance from the “Sprint” (a 750 meter swim, a 20 kilometer bike race, and a 5 kilometer run) to an “Ultra” (2.3 mile swim, 100 mile bike race, and a 26 mile marathon run).
According to a friend who has competed alongside him in triathlons, Scheidies is a world class athlete—vision or no. He swims and bikes and runs tethered to a sighted person (they often have to be replaced during a race because one aide simply couldn’t keep up with Scheidies).
Scheidies may not be able to compete as a triathlete any more.
USA Triathlon (the body that oversees all triathlons in the US) now requires that all visually impaired athletes wear “black out” glasses
which eliminate any visual perception they might retain
These glasses make the wearer completely blind
USA Triathlon asserts that using the blackout glasses “levels the playing field” for the visually impaired.
Scheidies has some vision, as do 85% of the visually impaired. Eliminating what bit of vision they have leaves them, literally, in the dark. As the Oakland Press reported, “the rule effectively puts any visually impaired competitor in a dangerous situation because it erases their lifetime of knowledge of learning how to use whatever light perception they might have to navigate in the world.”
Scheidies described his attempt at running with black out glasses, “I tried to use black out glasses once, the first time I put them over my eyes, I hit my head on a fence within a minute. Even though I had a guide, I then fell into a ditch and ran off the road multiple times because it was to disorienting. I felt like I was intoxicated.”
Notwithstanding his and other blind athletes’ complaints, USA Triathlon (justifying their mystifying rule as having been imposed by the International Triathlon Union) persists in planning to impose this bizarre rule. Schiedies plans to file suit against USA Triathlon.
One would hope that if a competitor qualifies as legally blind—-just as a man or woman qualifies as a male or female or for an age bracket—-that would be a sufficient. These are threshold requirements that determine the athlete’s relevant competitive cohort. There should be no further effort to promote “equality” (i.e. 40% blind can’t compete against 65% blind, obese people can’t compete against slender folks). Some blind people see more, others see less. Some athletes have greater lung capacity some have less. That’s how life and the world work, that’s what competition is about.
Hopefully, USA Triathlon will see the absurdity of their position, change the rule and tell the international body it is wrong. If not, a rational court ought to do it for them.
This should have a better ending than Harrison Bergeron—-he was killed by the Handicapper General for being too full of “joy and grace” and not following the rules.
May 11, 2011 | 12:42 pm
Posted by David A. Lehrer
By Joe R. Hicks and David A. Lehrer
The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) held a press conference last week, the day after President Obama’s announcement of Osama bin Laden’s dispatch. The briefing seemed to deliver a hopeful message: Now that bin Laden is dead, perhaps there will be the “dawn of a new era” in the relationship of American Muslims to their fellow Americans. MPAC’s leadership was joined by a bevy of local pols who echoed the theme of “can’t we all just get along?”
However, beyond the aspirational message of hope for a new era, the subtext of MPAC’s post-bin Laden messaging was that Muslim Americans have suffered a 10-year span of nasty, irrational anti-Muslim attitudes and actions in this country resulting in “alienation and psychological ghettoization” (MPAC’s words), and that bin Laden was an outlier in the Muslim world, who was “met with moral outrage … at every turn.” Both premises are wrong, though the organization’s admirable goal isn’t.
The facts are that, other than a brief up-tick immediately following the 9/11 attacks, the nation’s hate-crime data simply have not reflected significant or disproportionate increases in violence directed against Muslim Americans. The FBI’s most recent hate crime report, for 2009, revealed that, nationally, there were 1,303 religiously based hate crimes, of which 107 were directed against Muslims. Clearly a matter of concern, but, put in context — there were 931 hate crimes directed against Jews (a numerically comparable cohort nationally) that year — hardly a reason for a feeling of “psychological alienation.” Locally, the most recent hate crime report issued by the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations showed that, nationwide, 88 percent of all religiously based hate crimes in the county were directed not at Muslims, but at Jews.
In fact, hate crimes that targeted Muslims (3 percent) in Los Angeles County ranked slightly above those directed at Scientologists (1 percent). To put a finer point on things, the Commission discovered that attacks animated by an animus toward Christians (8 percent) outnumbered hate crimes against Muslims.
Of course, hate crimes are not the dispositive measure of Americans’ attitudes; they are but one bit of evidence of how Americans treat each other. Attitudinally, the majority’s view of Muslims in America is more complex.
A 2010 Pew study found that “favorable” attitudes toward Islam have, in fact, declined among Americans over the past five years (from 41 percent favorable to 30 percent). But to be fair to our fellow citizens, those attitudinal changes have occurred against the backdrop of a decade that began with 9/11 and includes a tragic list of attacks and terrorist incidents, both domestically and overseas, that will inevitably affect attitudes — unless someone lives in a hermetically “news-free” environment.
From Richard Reid’s attempt to bring down an airliner on a flight from Paris to Miami; to Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan’s rampage at Fort Hood, Texas; to Faisal Shahzad’s attempt to explode a car packed with explosives in Times Square; to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian underwear bomber; to the Midwestern youths who traveled to Somali to train and fight with local extremists: These incidents — both tragedies and tragedies averted — would make anyone’s head spin and challenge almost anyone’s commitment to tolerance.
A 2009 Pew poll found that Americans were concerned about domestic Islamic extremism (the poll was conducted in the wake of the deadly Fort Hood Army base murders) — 79 percent of the public was “very or somewhat concerned about the rise of Islamic extremism in the United States.” If four-fifths of the public is troubled by the rise of American-based Islamic extremism, and there are headline-making incidents to support that concern, one doesn’t have to be George Gallup to conclude that, like it or not, it will impact attitudes toward Islam and, likely, American Muslims.
Nothing justifies extrapolating from individuals to the larger group in terms of stereotyping and bigotry, but the events of the past decade have clearly put Americans’ tolerance to the test and attitudinal shifts — if not actions — can be the result; the death of bin Laden is but one step in the right direction. Fewer American Muslims heeding the siren call of religious martyrdom would help as well.
MPAC’s president, Salam Al-Marayati, in a post-bin Laden statement buttressed his hopeful message of a “new era” dawning with an analysis that concluded that bin Laden was essentially an outlier in the Muslim world: “His acts of senseless terror have been met with moral outrage by Muslims worldwide at every turn in the past decade.” The logic presumably being that if the outlier is gone, saner heads will prevail in the Muslim world.
If only that were true. The sad reality is that bin Laden had, and likely still has, a sympathetic audience for his fanaticism in large swaths of the Muslim world.
A largely ignored Pew poll that came out last week confirmed this fear. Despite its rosy headline — “Osama Bin Laden Largely Discredited Among Muslim Publics in Recent Years” — the numbers in the study belie the title’s optimism. While “confidence in Osama bin Laden” has declined in recent years in Indonesia (from 60 to 26 percent), Pakistan (52 to 18 percent), Egypt (27 to 22 percent) and the Palestinian territories (72 to 34 percent). The actual number of those with “confidence in bin Laden to do the right thing in world affairs” in just those four population centers totals 183 million Muslims. That means that nearly 200 million people in the world have “confidence” in an avowed mass murderer who advocated religious war and genocide.
As one reads that fact, it is important to keep in mind that in recent history there haven’t been many mass murderers who explicitly boasted of their gory exploits; few preened about killing innocent men, women and children. They might use code words and metaphors, but open blood lust hasn’t been common practice. Bin Laden was an exception — there was no ambiguity in his goals. Nevertheless, he had/has hundreds of millions of admirers. Hardly the “moral outrage of the Muslim world” that MPAC described.
MPAC and its leadership have expressed admirable goals, to “turn the page on a decade of terror led by bin Laden and al-Qaeda … (whose) pro-violence messages have been exposed as bankrupt and misguided.” But turning that page is not advanced by reflexively claiming victim status, by decrying Americans’ response to terror and plots of terror, and by candy-coating what is clearly a serious problem in the Islamic world that won’t likely disappear with bin Laden’s demise.
April 22, 2011 | 4:43 pm
Posted by David A. Lehrer
An issue which periodically emerges and engages passions on all sides of the political spectrum is the role and purpose of objectivity in journalism. Are the Glenn Becks and Keith Olbermanns of the world the future and fate of journalism or is there still a place for the much maligned “objective journalism” that we all learned about in civics classes?
Last year’s heated exchange between Olbermann and Ted Koppel was a much discussed flash point in the on-going debate.
Next week Community Advocates, in partnership with NPR station KPCC and its Airtalk broadcast with Larry Mantle, will grapple with this issue. On Thursday, April 28th at 6:30 we will have two exceptionally able advocates discuss this enduring and increasingly relevant issue before a live audience (at KPCC’s new home, The Crawford Family Forum at 474 South Raymond Avenue, Pasadena) as it is taped for broadcast:
Eric Alterman, Distinguished Professor of English, Brooklyn College, City University of New York, Professor of Journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, columnist for The Nation, The Forward, and The Daily Beast and a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. Alterman’s latest book is Kabuki Democracy: The System vs. Barack Obama. His previous books include the national bestsellers, What Liberal Media? The Truth About Bias and the News and The Book on Bush: How George W. (Mis)leads America.
Geneva Overholser, Director of the Annenberg School of Journalism at the University of Southern California. She is a former editor of the Des Moines Register, ombudsman of the Washington Post and editorial board member of The New York Times. She held the Hurley Chair in Public Affairs Reporting for the Missouri School of Journalism. Overholser is on the boards of the Knight Fellowships at Stanford, Center for Public Integrity and the Committee of Concerned Journalists.
Please join us for what promises to be a very stimulating evening. If you would like to make a free reservation, please click here.
March 29, 2011 | 5:15 pm
Posted by David A. Lehrer
Last summer, Community Advocates published an op/ed in the Los Angeles Times singing the praises of UCLA and several other UC campuses for being in the vanguard of elite universities to admit socio-economically disadvantaged applicants.
Rather than rely on race and/or ethnicity as a proxy for disadvantage (as a result of Proposition 209, they can’t) University of California campuses consider the socio-economic status of their applicants believing that the extent to which an applicant has overcome hurdles of economic disadvantage (Pell Grant eligible students come from families earning $45,000 per year or less) will be a measure of their ability to achieve success as a college student. There is little to argue about the disadvantage that occurs when there are no funds to pay for SAT prep courses, after school enrichment programs, tutors and the like.
Today David Leonhardt, writer of The New York Times’ Economix Blog, joins the praise for UCLA. Leonhardt cites the most recent data for elite universities and their paltry Pell Grant student admit percentages—-Harvard 6.5%, Yale 8.9%, University of Pennsylvania 8.2%, Duke and Northwestern 8.3% and Stanford 12%.
These relatively small numbers persist despite a commitment in 2005 from many of these universities to improve the admission of economically disadvantaged students. At the time, Harvard’s then-president, Larry Summers, opined that the growing divide between the children of the rich and the children of the poor was “the most serious domestic problem in the United States today.”
Leonhardt then comes to the conclusion that will warm the hearts of Bruins, recognition of what UCLA (and many of the UC’s as we point out in our op/ed) has done:
To give credit where it’s due, the University of California, Los Angeles, leads all elite colleges with 30.7% of its students receiving Pell Grants.
It is no small matter that elite research universities have expended the extra effort to identify and admit students who have the potential to succeed but not the resources to have yet reached their potential. Once again, much deserved kudos goes to UCLA and its UC colleagues for setting the pace for the rest of America’s best colleges and universities.