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Sunday, November 23, 2008
As discussed in more depth in an article on the Chronicle of Higher Education news blog, the study tracked about 350 students who had applied for the Gates Millennium Scholars Program for low-income minority students and had gone through its selection process. If found that the salary premium that Asian- and Hispanic-American students received from majoring in science, technology, mathematics, or engineering was 50 percent higher than what black students who had majored in those fields were earning soon after college. Asian- and Hispanic-American students also reaped a higher salary premium than did black students for majoring in professional fields such as business or law.
The researchers behind the study--Tatiana Melguizo, an assistant professor of higher education at the University of Southern California, and Gregory C. Wolniak, a research scientist at the National Opinion Research Center--found some evidence that variations in occupational choices might help explain the gaps. They did not look into whether discrimination played a role because they did not have sufficient data matching students with their employers.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The Pacific Legal Foundation--a prominent conservative advocacy group--is demanding that the University of California at Los Angeles produce applicant data that might show whether it is considering race in admissions, in violation of a state ban on the practice.
As reported in an article on The Chronicle of Higher Education news blog, the foundation sent a letter to UCLA last month demanding a host of information under the state's open records laws. Among the documents that it requests in its letter are undergraduate applications (with all personally identifying information removed) from students seeking admission to the Classes of 2005 through 2008; records giving the identities of all applications readers, the scores they gave each application, and their reasons for deciding to admit or reject each candidate; and all handbooks and other documents designed to guide applications readers.
Monday, November 10, 2008
A look back at what happened in Colorado suggests that Connerly's opponents would be mistaken in concluding they have clearly turned the tide against him, however.
For starters, the measure was defeated by an extremely narrow margin: 50.7 percent against, 49.3 percent for. It was not until several days after the election that state election officials concluded that it had, in fact, lost.
More importantly, as a Chronicle of Higher Education analysis of the election results points out, political scientists and other experts believe Barack Obama's campaign played a substantial role in the measure's defeat. Not only did the Obama campaign's formidable advertising blitz and ground game turn Colorado from red to blue--allowing him to win 53 percent of the popular vote--it also brought to the polls a lot of people who had not voted in past elections. They included black and Hispanic voters and college students, populations that have been strongholds of support for affirmative-action preferences when similar measures were voted on in other states.
Kenneth Bickers, a political-science professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, told the Chronicle: “This election brought out people who in most typical elections wouldn’t be voting.”
For his part, Connerly told the newspaper: “If the vote was held tomorrow with no Obama money and no Obama on the ballot, we’d win, 60 to 40."
A similar measure easily passed with nearly 58 percent of the vote in Nebraska, which remained solidly red as 57 percent of its voters backed McCain.
Connerly's opponents managed to keep such measures off the ballot in Arizona, Missouri, and Oklahoma, through concerted efforts to block his petition-gathering efforts and to challenge the legitimacy of the petitions he submitted. He told the Chronicle he already has a new effort underway to get such a measure on the Missouri ballot, in 2010. He said he also may give Arizona and Colorado another shot down the road.