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High-achieving Asian-American students are being shut out of top schools around the country. Is this what diversity looks like now?

No Longer Separate No Longer Equal Asian American Discrimination Applying to College JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club I am posting a series of articles on the issue of Asian Americans who apply to elite private colleges because it seems that there is a “ceiling” on Asian Americans.

This article references Professor Mitchell Chang whose op-ed article I posted last week. It’s here.

There is argument that Asian Americans are over-represented because with a population of 5.6%, we make up around 17% of Ivy League colleges. I’m not so sure this is something to accept quietly. What about you? What do you think?

All my posts on this issue are here in a category off the navigation bar called Don’t ID as Asian When Applying to College.

I will be posting an article that I’ve found on this topic once a week for the next several months. For anyone who feels that this is an incorrect assessment of what is happening with regard to Asian Americans who apply to elite colleges, I welcome your comments and links to relevant research or articles. I am happy to post rebuttals.

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4/17/11 Boston Globe MagazineCompetitive disadvantage.  College Confidential.High-achieving Asian-American students are being shut out of top schools around the country. Is this what diversity looks like now?”

by Jon Marcus

Grace Wong has felt the sting of intolerance quite literally, in the rocks thrown at her in Australia, where she pursued a PhD after leaving her native China. In the Boston area, where she’s lived since 1996, she recalls a fellow customer at the deli counter in a Chestnut Hill supermarket telling her to go back to her own country. When Wong’s younger son was born, she took a drastic measure to help protect him, at least on paper, from discrimination: She changed his last name to one that doesn’t sound Asian.

“It’s a difficult time to be Chinese,” says Wong, a scientist who develops medical therapies. “There’s a lot of jealousy out there, because the Chinese do very well. And some people see that as a threat.”

Wong had these worries in mind last month as she waited to hear whether her older son, a good student in his senior year at a top suburban high school, would be accepted to the 11 colleges he had applied to, which she had listed neatly on a color-coded spreadsheet.

The odds, strangely, were stacked against him. After all the attention given to the stereotype that Asian-American parents put enormous pressure on their children to succeed – provoked over the winter by Amy Chua’s controversial Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother – came the indisputable reality this spring that, even if Asian-American students work hard, the doors of top schools were still being slammed shut in many faces.

And parents aren’t happy about it. “The entry barriers are higher for us than for everybody else,” says Chi Chi Wu, one of the organizers of the Brookline Asian American Family Network. “There’s a form of redlining or holding Asian-American students to higher standards than any other group.”

Although Asian-Americans represent less than 5 percent of the US population (and slightly more than 5 percent in Massachusetts), they make up as much as 20 percent of students at many highly selective private research universities – the kind of schools that make it into top 50 national rankings. But, critics charge, Asian-American students would constitute an even larger share if many weren’t being filtered out during the admissions process. Since the University of California system moved to a race-blind system 14 years ago, the percentage of Asian-American students in some competitive schools there has reached 40, even 50 percent. On these campuses, the so-called “model minority” is becoming the majority.

High-achieving Asian-Americans may be running into obstacles precisely because they work so hard. Mitchell Chang, an Asian-American studies professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, suggests that the attention given Chua’s book will only make things worse. “Her characterization can further tax Asian-American college applicants by reducing the chances that they will be viewed as self-starters, risk takers, and independent thinkers – attributes that are often favored by admissions officers but rarely associated with Asian-American applicants,” Chang wrote in a January Op-Ed in The Sacramento Bee.

Even though the Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that universities can continue to consider race in admissions in the interest of diversity, admissions officers deny they’re screening out Asian-Americans. However, in researching their 2009 book No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal, Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade and researcher Alexandria Walton Radford examined data on students applying to college in 1997 and found what looks like different standards for different racial groups. They calculated that Asian-Americans needed nearly perfect SAT scores of 1550 to have the same chance of being accepted at a top private university as whites who scored 1410 and African-Americans who got 1100. Whites were three times, Hispanics six times, and blacks more than 15 times as likely to be accepted at a US university as Asian-Americans.

What about the argument that, in relation to the general population, Asian-Americans are already overrepresented at universities? “It’s both true that Asians are overrepresented and that they’re being discriminated against,” says Stephen Hsu, a professor of physics at the University of Oregon who speaks out against discrimination he says Asian-Americans face in university admissions. Both things can happen at the same time, he says.

Hsu and others allege that universities are more concerned about boosting black and Hispanic enrollment than admitting qualified Asian-Americans, and that old-fashioned xenophobia comes into play as well.

“My personal perspective is that if institutions are using race to keep Asian-American students out, it’s based on a fear [among non-minorities] that these ‘other’ students are taking over our institutions or taking ‘our spots’ at the best institutions,” says Sam Museus, a professor in the Asian-American studies program at the University of Massachusetts at Boston.

At Harvard, the overall acceptance rate for the incoming class of 2015 was 6.2 percent, a record low. William Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid, says that among different racial groups, there are “not radical differences” in the proportions of students who got in.

“We’re looking for excellence, first and foremost. And there’s excellence in every community in America and certainly lots of excellence within each one of the minority communities,” Fitzsimmons says. “We would not be doing our jobs if we were not looking for the best applicants from a wide variety of backgrounds.”

Asian-Americans represent 17.8 percent, or 383, of the students admitted to Harvard last month, which is up from 14.1 percent a decade ago. During the last five years, however, the proportion there and at other Ivies has remained relatively flat or increased only slightly, even after an Asian-American student at Yale filed a federal complaint in 2006 against Princeton, where he applied but was not accepted, alleging it discriminated against him because of his race. Despite perfect SAT scores and nine Advanced Placement courses, the student said he was also rejected by Harvard, Stanford, the University of Pennsylvania, and MIT. (That complaint has not been resolved, a US Department of Education spokesman says.)

By contrast, at California’s competitive – and race-blind – state schools, Asian-Americans are much better represented: 52 percent of the student population at the University of California at Irvine, 40 percent at Berkeley, and 37 percent at UCLA. (The ban on admissions committees considering race was upheld by a federal judge in December.)

The difference suggests that, where considering race is allowed, elite universities may be handicapping Asian-American applicants. “They just all sort of magically end up with under 20 percent Asian students,” Hsu says. One Princeton lecturer has asked if that number represents the “Asian ceiling.”

This issue has gotten some recent attention in the United States, but much more across the border in Canada, where it stirred a national controversy in the fall when students in a Maclean’s article asked whether Canadian universities were becoming, as the headline put it, “Too Asian?” With spiraling Asian enrollments, the magazine reported, Canadian universities were becoming “so academically focused that some [non-Asian] students feel they can no longer compete or have fun.” Some white students told Maclean’s they wouldn’t choose the University of Toronto because it has so many Asians. “You can’t really overestimate the power of stereotypes,” Museus says. (A university spokeswoman reports it hasn’t seen a backlash.)

In the end, Wong’s son got into most of the colleges he applied to, including Boston University, UMass-Amherst, Ithaca College, and Drexel University. But other Asian-American high school seniors in this singularly competitive corner of the country – not only the children of middle- and upper-income parents in Brookline and other expensive suburbs, but also sons and daughters of low-income families such as Southeast Asian refugees in cities including Lowell – have had a traumatic spring.

“These kids are getting pretty immense pressure from their families, because there is some truth to the idea that Asian families value education highly as a way of progress and success,” says Museus. “Then they’re getting pressure from this competitive environment that exists around Boston. On top of that, they’re getting pressure from this stereotype, which sets up the expectation that they always have to be the best. The pressure does facilitate success, up to a certain point. But it also gets to a point where it makes them feel that they can’t do anything right.”

To view any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

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Why You Shouldn’t Identify as Asian When Applying to College UPDATED

MItchell Chang UCLA professor JadeLuckClub Why you shouldn't identify race when applying to college if Asian

 In October 2006, Inside Higher Ed reported that at the annual meeting of the National Association for College Admission Counseling, admissions officers and high school counselors readily admitted that bias against Asian Americans continues to be a real problem — so much so that some even recommended that Asian Americans should not identify their race in their applications.

I am posting a series of articles as I discover them, though they are not all new, regarding the politics of Asian Americans applying to elite private colleges. It seems to me that this is very similar to what happened to Jews 60 years ago where “ceilings” were placed. These days, Jews make up approximately 30% of Ivy League students, though religious affiliation isn’t tracked or reported in terms of college admits. Think about that! The Jewish population in America is believed to be 1.7% according to Wikipedia.

This puts a new spin on whether or not Asians should have a ceiling; that we are “over-represented” in terms of number of Asians in the U.S. versus at the Ivy League. It’s just that you can’t readily identify who is Jewish either by looking at them, or even by examining their surnames, particularly for Interfaith families.

Professor Chang, at UCLA, has an interesting article that comments on the negative impact of Amy Chua’s Tiger Mom book has on perpetuating the stereotype of Asian Americans as over achieving because of overbearing parents. He has an interesting quote which I have bolded at the top of this post that Admissions Officers and High School Counselors readily admit to an Anti-Asian bias to the point that some, like me, recommend against identifying race in their college applications.

The more I read about this, the more I realize that nothing will happen if there isn’t pressure for change. Hence, I am posting and encourage readers to make up their own minds. Is this racism? What do you think?

If you want to read all the posts on Don’t ID as Asian When Applying to College, click here.

p.s. For parents who think that Amy Chua’s book can be used as a parenting manual to get their kids into Harvard and Yale like her oldest, Sophia, realize this: her daughter is a double legacy as Harvard as both her parents went there. Her mother went to Harvard for both undergraduate and law school. Her father for law school. Sophia also doesn’t have to put herself into the most competitive group when applying to college. Since her father is Jewish, she can check either the “Mixed Race” OR the “Caucasian” box which (if you read all the articles on the bias against Asian Americans at elite private colleges) alone greatly  improves her chances for admittance. Add in bonus points for being a legacy which often makes the difference between acceptance and rejection.

As for Yale, children of employees at private colleges get special consideration that may increase their odds even more than a legacy. Sometimes the college has a set policy. For example, Boston College, Tufts College and University of Southern California are not only are more lenient on applicants who are children of employees, but any employee that has worked at the college for five years also gets a free ride for their child. At Boston College which is in the town I live in, this is so enticing on both accounts that parents will give up their own businesses to time a job at Boston College. Why not?! This makes great financial sense if you have many children. Grad school is also included! This can be up to $1 million dollars in savings for four children!

At other schools, the advantage for children of employees may be more tacit. When the pool of applicants for say Harvard is universally strong, there isn’t much difference between someone who gets accepted or rejected. Being a legacy can be the tiebreaker. Or knowing someone in the Admissions department which is easier to pull off if you work at that university.

My point is that Amy Chua has widely publicized where her daughter was admitted, not where she was rejected. Admission into Brown University or Stanford, for example, for Sophia would be a better indicator that Tiger Mom parenting is a sure thing into the Ivy League simply because she doesn’t have a “home field” advantage there.

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1/27/11 UCLA TodayTiger mom adds to stereotype that burdens Asian American students
Mitchell J. Chang is a professor of education and Asian American studies.
His op-ed appeared originally in the Sacramento Bee’s Jan. 26, 2011 edition.


The Wall Street Journal published an essay this month by Yale University law professor Amy Chua titled, “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior,” bringing national attention to the methods by which Asian American parents raise high-achieving children. Within a week, the essay received more than 6,500 comments on the newspaper’s website, catapulting her previously unnoticed book, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” up the New York Times‘ list of best-sellers. Chua’s essay is considered controversial largely because it stresses a rigid parenting style based on tough love — the “Tiger Mother” — that goes against what she considers more typical “Western” styles that emphasize self-esteem and self-discovery. Parenting strategies aside, what has been overlooked is how this essay unintentionally undermines Asian American college applicants by perpetuating an erroneous stereotype.

High-achieving Asian Americans have been struggling against an “Asian tax” in college as well as graduate school admissions for over three decades.

In the late ’80s, the federal government investigated charges that Asian American college applicants faced a higher admissions bar than other groups. They concluded in 1990 that Harvard admitted Asian American applicants at a lower rate than white students despite the fact that Asian American applicants had slightly stronger test scores and grades.

The federal government also inspected other elite universities, including some UC campuses where Asian American enrollment dropped despite increased numbers of highly qualified applicants. Federal investigators found that admissions staff at these elite universities had stereotyped Asian American applicants in characterizing them as quiet, shy and not “well rounded.”

In October 2006, Inside Higher Ed reported that at the annual meeting of the National Association for College Admission Counseling, admissions officers and high school counselors readily admitted that bias against Asian Americans continues to be a real problem — so much so that some even recommended that Asian Americans should not identify their race in their applications. Admissions officers reportedly complained on a regular basis that they didn’t “want another boring Asian.”

Meeting participants also reacted to a November 2005 Wall Street Journal article, which reported that white families were leaving top public schools as districts became “too Asian,” apparently referring to a shift in the emphasis of after-school programs away from a sports focus and toward an academic one.

Now comes Chua’s characterization of the “Tiger Mother,” adding to what it means to be “too Asian.” This image contributes to an already problematic stereotype by suggesting not only that most Asian  Americans are high-achieving, but also that their achievements are due to overbearing parents.

Her characterization can further tax Asian American college applicants by reducing the chances that they will be viewed as self-starters, risk-takers and independent thinkers — attributes that are often favored by admissions officers but rarely associated with Asian American applicants. If the “Tiger Mother” image leaves a lasting impression and is applied broadly beyond Chua’s own experiences, this characterization can advance a one-dimensional view of Asian Americans that minimizes their achievements and overlooks their diversity.

With any luck, those involved with admissions in higher education fully recognize the shortcomings of Chua’s essay and understand that the story of high achievement for Asian Americans is as varied as the number of college applicants. If they don’t and the “Asian tax” rises instead, we will hopefully be reading about the determination of Asian American parents to eliminate discriminatory admissions practices, rather than essays about an obsession with raising hyper-achieving kids. Ideally, the public will be just as concerned about the former as they have been with the latter.

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1,623 Average SAT Score of Asian American: But Still Not Good Enough for Ivy League

Ivy League and Discrimination against Asian American Applicants JadeLuckClub Jade Luck Club

 

I’m posting on a series of articles that I’ve found on Asian Americans applying to elite private colleges and whether there is a “ceiling” on Asian Americans. This a notable article on this topic because Kara Miller actually worked in the Admission Office at Yale and she’s spilling the beans, so to speak.

Here are some key quotes from the article:

  • Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade, who reviewed data from 10 elite colleges, writes in “No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal’’ that Asian applicants typically need an extra 140 points to compete with white students.
  • In fact, according to Princeton lecturer Russell Nieli, there may be an “Asian ceiling’’ at Princeton, a number above which the admissions office refuses to venture.
  • A few years ago, however, when I worked as a reader for Yale’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions, it became immediately clear to me that Asians – who constitute 5 percent of the US population – faced an uphill slog.
  • Indeed, as Princeton’s Nieli suggests, most elite universities appear determined to keep their Asian-American totals in a narrow range. Yale’s class of 2013 is 15.5 percent Asian-American, compared with 16.1 percent at Dartmouth, 19.1 percent at Harvard, and 17.6 percent at Princeton.
  • Statistically, it’s true that Asians generally have to get higher scores than others to get in.
  • At the 2006 meeting of the National Association for College Admission Counseling, a panel entitled “Too Asian?’’ looked at the growing tendency of teachers, college counselors, and admissions officers to see Asians as a unit, rather than as individuals.
Please note that the bold in the article is mine. Seriously, there is no upside to self identifying as Asian or Pacific Islander when applying to college. True, you can’t hide it but that is very different from self tagging yourself into the most competitive category, especially if you’re hapa. What do you think? Please leave a comment!

p.s. To see all the posts on my blog on this topic, please click on category tab: Don’t ID as Asian When Applying to College. It’s under the button on my navigation bar labeled Asian in America.

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2/8/10 Boston Globe: “Do colleges redline Asian-Americans?
by Kara Miller

SAT Scores aren’t everything. But they can tell some fascinating stories.

Take 1,623, for instance. That’s the average score of Asian-Americans, a group that Daniel Golden – editor at large of Bloomberg News and author of “The Price of Admission’’ – has labeled “The New Jews.’’ After all, much like Jews a century ago, Asian-Americans tend to earn good grades and high scores. And now they too face serious discrimination in the college admissions process.

The Price of Admission: How America’s Ruling Class Buys Its Way into Elite Colleges–and Who Gets Left Outside the Gates by Daniel Golden

Notably, 1,623 – out of a possible 2,400 – not only separates Asians from other minorities (Hispanics and blacks average 1,364 and 1,276 on the SAT, respectively). The score also puts them ahead of Caucasians, who average 1,581. And the consequences of this are stark.

Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade, who reviewed data from 10 elite colleges, writes in “No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal’’ that Asian applicants typically need an extra 140 points to compete with white students. In fact, according to Princeton lecturer Russell Nieli, there may be an “Asian ceiling’’ at Princeton, a number above which the admissions office refuses to venture.

No Longer Seperate, Not Yet Equal by Thomas Espenshade

Emily Aronson, a Princeton spokeswoman, insists “the university does not admit students in categories. In the admission process, no particular factor is assigned a fixed weight and there is no formula for weighing the various aspects of the application.’’

A few years ago, however, when I worked as a reader for Yale’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions, it became immediately clear to me that Asians – who constitute 5 percent of the US population – faced an uphill slog. They tended to get excellent scores, take advantage of AP offerings, and shine in extracurricular activities. Frequently, they also had hard-knock stories: families that had immigrated to America under difficult circumstances, parents working as kitchen assistants and store clerks, and households in which no English was spoken.

But would Yale be willing to make 50 percent of its freshman class Asian? Probably not.

Indeed, as Princeton’s Nieli suggests, most elite universities appear determined to keep their Asian-American totals in a narrow range. Yale’s class of 2013 is 15.5 percent Asian-American, compared with 16.1 percent at Dartmouth, 19.1 percent at Harvard, and 17.6 percent at Princeton.

“There are a lot of poor Asians, immigrant kids,’’ says University of Oregon physics professor Stephen Hsu, who has written about the admissions process. “But generally that story doesn’t do as much as it would for a non-Asian student. Statistically, it’s true that Asians generally have to get higher scores than others to get in.’’

In a country built on individual liberty and promise, that feels deeply unfair. If a teenager spends much time studying, excels at an instrument or sport, and garners wonderful teacher recommendations, should he be punished for being part of a high-achieving group? Are his accomplishments diminished by the fact that people he has never met – but who look somewhat like him – also work hard?

“When you look at the private Ivy Leagues, some of them are looking at Asian-American applicants with a different eye than they are white applicants,’’ says Oiyan Poon, the 2007 president of the University of California Students Association. “I do strongly believe in diversity, but I don’t agree with increasing white numbers over historically oppressed populations like Asian-Americans, a group that has been denied civil rights and property rights.’’ But Poon, now a research associate at the University of Massachusetts Boston, warns that there are downsides to having huge numbers of Asian-Americans on a campus.

In California, where passage of a 1996 referendum banned government institutions from discriminating on the basis of race, Asians make up about 40 percent of public university students, though they account for only 13 percent of residents. “Some Asian-American students feel that they lost something by going to school at a place where almost half of their classmates look like themselves – a campus like UCLA. The students said they didn’t feel as well prepared in intercultural skills for the real world.’’

But what do you do if you’re an elite college facing tremendous numbers of qualified Asian applicants? At the 2006 meeting of the National Association for College Admission Counseling, a panel entitled “Too Asian?’’ looked at the growing tendency of teachers, college counselors, and admissions officers to see Asians as a unit, rather than as individuals.

Hsu argues it’s time to tackle this issue, rather than defer it, as Asians’ superior performance will likely persist. “This doesn’t seem to be changing. You can see the same thing with Jews. They’ve outperformed other ethnic groups for the past 100 years.’’

Which leaves us with two vexing questions: Are we willing to trade personal empowerment for a more palatable group dynamic? And when – if ever – should we give credit where credit is due?

Kara Miller teaches at Babson College.

To view either book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

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A Racist Bake Sale Exposes Reverse Discrimination against Asian Americans

Racist Cupcakes Bucknell Reverse Discrimination Asian Americans JadeLuckClubWhat do you think of this article on Affirmative Action? It kind of hits the nail on the head for me in terms of reverse discrimination for Asian Americans applying to top private colleges. I posted on this topic here and will continue to post a series of articles on this subject. The more I read about it and think about it, the angrier I become. How about you?

John Stossel FoxNews.com Affirmative Action Racist Cupcake Sale JadeLuckClub Asian American Discrimination

11/10/10

FoxNews.comGet Your Affirmative Action Cupcakes Here!
By John Stossel
This week, I held a bake sale — a racist bake sale. I stood in midtown Manhattan shouting, “Cupcakes for sale.” My price list read:
Asians — $1.50
Whites — $1.00
Blacks/Latinos — 50 cents
People stared. One yelled, “What is funny to you about people who are less privileged?” A black woman said, angrily, “It’s very offensive, very demeaning!” One black man accused me of poisoning the cupcakes.

I understand why people got angry. What I did was hurtful to some. My bake sale mimicked what some conservative college students did at Bucknell University. The students wanted to satirize their school’s affirmative action policy, which makes it easier for blacks and Hispanics to get admitted.

I think affirmative action is racism — and therefore wrong. If a private school like Bucknell wants to have such policies to increase diversity, fine. But government-imposed affirmative action is offensive. Equality before the law means government should treat citizens equally.

But it doesn’t. Our racist government says that any school receiving federal tax dollars, even if only in the form of federal aid to students, must comply with affirmative action rules, and some states have enacted their own policies.

Advocates of affirmative action argue it is needed because of historic discrimination. Maybe that was true in 1970, but it’s no longer true. Affirmative action is now part of the minority special privilege machine, an indispensable component of which is perpetual victimhood.

All the Bucknell students wanted was a campus discussion about that. Why not? A university is supposed to be a place for open discussion, but some topics are apparently off-limits. On my Fox Business show this week, I’ll discuss this with a member of the Bucknell Conservative Club who participated in the bake sale.

About an hour after the students began their “affirmative action” sale, the associate dean of students shut it down. He said it was because the prices charged were different from those listed on the permissions application. An offer to change the prices was rejected. Then the club’s application to hold another sale was rejected. Ironically, the associate dean said it would violate the schools nondiscrimination policy! He would authorize a debate on affirmative action, but nothing else.

How ridiculous! Fortunately, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has come to the students’ defense: “Using this absurd logic, Bucknell would have to require its College Democrats to say nothing political on campus unless they give equal time to Republican candidates at their events, or its Catholic Campus Ministry to remain silent about abortion unless it holds a debate and invites pro-choice activists to speak,” FIRE’s Adam Kissel said. “While students are free to host debates, they must not be required to provide a platform for their ideological opponents. Rather, those opponents must be free to spread their own messages and host their own events.”

Right. My affirmative action cupcake “event” led to some interesting discussions. One young woman began by criticizing me, “It’s absolutely wrong.”But after I raised the parallel with college admissions, she said: “No race of people is worth more
than another. Or less.”

But do you believe in affirmative action in colleges? I asked.
“I used to,” she replied.

Those are the kind discussions students should have. Affirmative action wasn’t the only issue that brought conservative Bucknell students grief. When they tried to protest President Obama’s $787 billion “stimulus” spending last year by handing out fake dollar bills, the school stopped them for violating rules against soliciting! According to FIRE, Bucknell’s solicitation policy covers only sales and fundraising, which the students were not engaged
in, but the school rejected the students’ appeal, saying permission was needed to distribute “anything,from Bibles to other matter.”

Absurd! The Bucknell administration tells me it stopped the anti-stimulus protest because the students had not registered to use that busy campus space. FIRE disputes that.“Distributing protest literature is an American free-speech tradition that dates to before the founding of the United States,” Kissel said. “Why is Bucknell so afraid of students handing out ‘Bibles [or] other matter’ that might provide challenging perspectives? Colleges are supposed to be marketplaces of ideas, but Bucknell is betraying this ideal.”

It is, indeed. Why are America’s institutions of higher learning so fearful?
John Stossel is host of “Stossel” on the Fox Business Network.

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Tiger Children: Getting into College Even Harder Because Asian Kids are So Damn Qualified

asians and difficulty of getting into harvard ivy league top colleges jade luck club jadeluckclub http://JadeLuckClub.com Celebrating Asian American Creativity

Read up on the plethora of programs available from University of Phoenix online at DegreeScout.com.

When I went to Harvard a million years ago, or in the late 1980’s, my incoming class was about 9% Asian. At the time, I believe the U.S. population was about 4% Asian. I vaguely remember thinking that Harvard, while stating that they wanted to duplicate ethnicity percentages along the lines of the general population, actually doubled the Asian population in my incoming class. But what I didn’t know was the percentage of Asians that applied. I still don’t know, but I suspect that the rejection rate as a race is higher than for other groups.

I did a little research and found this article in The Washington Post

“Chin said ‘Chinese and ALL Asian Americans are PENALIZED for their values on academic excellence by being required to have a HIGHER level of achievement, academic and non-academic, than any other demographic group, especially Whites, in order to be admitted to Harvard, the Ivies and the other Elites in this zero-sum game called admissions based on racial preferences.’

This may not be intended as a quota system, but Chin says it sure looks like one. He notes that in the 1980s some colleges, particularly Stanford and Brown, looked hard at their admissions decisions and discovered they were turning down many Asian American applicants while accepting white applicants with virtually the same characteristics.”

So what happens when admissions are color blind? The University of California system is a good example. Numbers from 2008:

  • U.C. Berkeley 43% Asian.
  • U.C.L.A. 40% Asian.
  • U.C. San Diego 50% Asian.
  • U.C. Irvine 54% Asian.

This provokes an argument for Affirmative Action for Caucasians in the U.C. system but what would happen if private colleges remove race as an admission criteria (which they would never do in a million years!)? Can you imagine the Ivy Leagues 50% Asian? But if you look at what happened at the U.C. system, arguably some of the best schools in the U.S. and maybe THE best schools judged by quality AND price, then it’s not a big leap to say that this could happen if elite private colleges ever decided to admit color blind.

This is the article that my friend sent me that started me down this train of thought … that while competitive public schools in N.Y. are color blind — the article is about Stuyvesant with its 72% Asian population — and how colleges (specifically elite private ones) have a way of correcting this imbalance. Reactions?!

p.s. Here are stats from the U.S. Census bureau on Asian Americans.

 

From New York Magazine, Paper Tigers

Entrance to Stuyvesant, one of the most competitive public high schools in the country, is determined solely by performance on a test: The top 3.7 percent of all New York City students who take the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test hoping to go to Stuyvesant are accepted. There are no set-asides for the underprivileged or, conversely, for alumni or other privileged groups. There is no formula to encourage “diversity” or any nebulous concept of “well-­roundedness” or “character.” Here we have something like pure meritocracy. This is what it looks like: Asian-­Americans, who make up 12.6 percent of New York City, make up 72 percent of the high school.

This year, 569 Asian-Americans scored high enough to earn a slot at Stuyvesant, along with 179 whites, 13 Hispanics, and 12 blacks. Such dramatic overrepresentation, and what it may be read to imply about the intelligence of different groups of New Yorkers, has a way of making people uneasy. But intrinsic intelligence, of course, is precisely what Asians don’t believe in. They believe—and have ­proved—that the constant practice of test-taking will improve the scores of whoever commits to it. All throughout Flushing, as well as in Bayside, one can find “cram schools,” or storefront academies, that drill students in test preparation after school, on weekends, and during summer break. “Learning math is not about learning math,” an instructor at one called Ivy Prep was quoted in the New York Times as saying. “It’s about weightlifting. You are pumping the iron of math.” Mao puts it more specifically: “You learn quite simply to nail any standardized test you take.”

And so there is an additional concern accompanying the rise of the Tiger Children, one focused more on the narrowness of the educational experience a non-Asian child might receive in the company of fanatically preprofessional Asian students. Jenny Tsai, a student who was elected president of her class at the equally competitive New York public school Hunter College High School, remembers frequently hearing that “the school was becoming too Asian, that they would be the downfall of our school.” A couple of years ago, she revisited this issue in her senior thesis at Harvard, where she interviewed graduates of elite public schools and found that the white students regarded the Asians students with wariness. (She quotes a music teacher at Stuyvesant describing the dominance of Asians: “They were mediocre kids, but they got in because they were coached.”) In 2005, The Wall Street Journal reported on “white flight” from a high school in Cupertino, California, that began soon after the children of Asian software engineers had made the place so brutally competitive that a B average could place you in the bottom third of the class.

Colleges have a way of correcting for this imbalance: The Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade has calculated that an Asian applicant must, in practice, score 140 points higher on the SAT than a comparable white applicant to have the same chance of admission. This is obviously unfair to the many qualified Asian individuals who are punished for the success of others with similar faces. Upper-middle-class white kids, after all, have their own elite private schools, and their own private tutors, far more expensive than the cram schools, to help them game the education system.

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So readers, here’s my question. When applying to private colleges when Asian, what happens if you DON’T check the box for race identification? Does it improve your chances? Do they check your box anyway when you appear for an interview? What if you are only partially Asian? Hmmm… things to research more deeply!! What do YOU think? Please share!!!

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