Phi Beta Cons

Affirmative Action at Michigan Supported by Bogus Research

In defense of its use of affirmative action before the Supreme Court a few years back, the University of Michigan cited the faulty research orf Patrica Gurin in support of the claim that “diversity” (really racial quotas) brings educational benefits to all students.     
My partial summary of Gurin’s reserach comes from John McWhorter, Winning the Race.  Gurin did not show that diversity leads to higher grades or test scores or graduation rates, and in fact admitted that diversity has no such effect, and that this had been conclusively demonstrated by Alexander Astin, director of the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA.  Instead Gurin asked students to decide for themselves (a “flabbergastingly irresponsible” method of doing research, says McWhorter) if they felt that their education had brought about certain outcomes she saw as favorable.  Here are the first four of these outcomes, out of eleven:    
1. whether students prefer simple rather than complex explanations

2. whether they think about the influence of society on other people

3. how much they valued general knowledge, problem-solving, and foreign language skills

4. how personally important it was to them to write original works and create artistic works
Postive answers were taken by Gurin to represent some of the educational benefits of “diversity”!


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