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Phi Beta Cons

The Right take on higher education.

The Pipeline Problem



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InsideHigherEd has a story today about the shortage of blacks and Latinos on sociology faculties. The story provides much speculation about why this is so, but unmentioned is the important 2003 book Increasing Faculty Diversity by Stephen Cole and Elinor Barber. That book found — to the great distress of the liberal Mellon Foundation, which funded much of the work — that a big reason for the shortage is racial and ethnic admission preferences at the undergraduate level. That is, by mismatching students and undergraduate institutions, African American and Latino students have gone to schools where they perform worse academically, become discouraged, and decide that there is no point in trying to proceed on to a Ph.D. These findings were similar to those later made by UCLA law professor Rick Sander in the law school context, namely that law school preferences have, for the same kinds of reasons, actually resulted in there being fewer African American lawyers than had preferences not been used.



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