Thursday, September 9, 2010

ASU forum on Prop. 107 only features one side, spreads disinformation

ASU's National Pan Hellenic Council put on a forum to discuss Prop. 107 last week. The Yes on 107 side wasn't given enough advance notice and could not participate. The following video clip released after the event reveals misinformation by the anti-Prop. 107 speakers. They said that Prop. 107 is not about affirmative action, since affirmative action was banned in Arizona in the 1970s. Huh? If so, then why did they then list off a bunch of affirmative action programs that would be cut if the initiative passes? Guess those programs musta missed this alleged chopping block in the 1970s! 

It was claimed that Ward Connerly started these initiatives as the result of a grudge over not winning a bid on a California government project years ago. This makes absolutely no sense. Ward is a black man, so the reason he was not awarded the bid was not related to affirmative action. 

One speaker asserted that the purpose of the initiative is to hurt minorities' and women's graduation and retention rates. This claim was just bizarre. Where the initiative has passed, it has increased their success rates. From

FACT: “If you compare 1995-96 with 1999-01 — a clear before-and-after Prop 209 comparison,” says Sander, a longtime liberal civil rights activist, “you’ll see that, for African-Americans, the 1995 class had a four-year graduation rate of 26%, while the 2001 class had a 52% graduation rate [Hispanics numbers are comparable]. For whites and Asians, it barely changes. This is almost certainly due largely to the reduction of preferences. The five and six-year grad rates for minorities get pretty close to the white rates [within five points], which of course means that differences in academic performance have also narrowed a lot.”

Prop 209 has largely worked as advertised, has not adversely affected women, and, most impressively, has benefited minorities by dramatically increasing graduation rates, thus boosting their chance for success in the job market.

In 2005, Sander cited race preferences for blacks failing the bar exam at four times the rate of whites nationally: “Black students admitted through preferences generally have quite low grades — not because of any racial characteristic, but because the preferences themselves put them at an enormous academic disadvantage.” The perverse result is that “the benefits of attending an elite school have been substantially overrated...job market data suggests that most black lawyers entering the job market would have higher earnings in the absence of preferential admissions, because better grades trump the costs in prestige.”

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