Saturday, December 02, 2006

School Diversity

I'm generally critical of affirmative action programs in the college admissions process. (To clarify, I think some action is warranted, but not necessarily the action that is currently being taken. More on that later.) But I confess that I'm not as concered about the current challenge to policies in Seattle and elsewhere that seek to maintain a balance of races and ethnicities in public schools so as to match the overall community breakdown. The problem I have with affirmative action in the college process is it undermines the meritocratic elements of the process. By contrast, from what I can tell, that's not at issue with the schools here. Instead, these are simply applications to go to a particular school within the district, and there is no merit aspect (I'll have to double-check this). The school district just wants a balanced racial and ethnic makeup in each school. I can see the benefits, and I think there is less harm than with affirmative action.

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