The Diversity Mania in Britain

According to this Daily Mail story, Britain’s top universities are being told to admit fewer academically strong students so as to have room for those from “disadvantaged” backgrounds. The theory is that the nation’s social mobility will be improved by putting some students through Oxford and Cambridge who would otherwise have attended less prestigious schools.

Will it work? I think it will work just as well as Tony Blair’s idea that the U.K. economy would get a big lift if the nation increased the percentage of young people earning college degrees to 50 percent. That was one of Blair’s first big policy moves. Instead of jazzing the economy, the result was lots of over-credentialed people taking jobs that had traditionally been done by non-college workers. “The lower classes” will no more be lifted up by choosing a few students from poorer families for the elite universities than the nation’s productivity can be raised by luring more young people into college. Ah, but it sounds nice and that’s the main thing in politics.

George Leef — George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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