Phi Beta Cons

Re: Too Many Asians?

That’s the new problem at some top universities. The large number of super-sharp students of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian, etc. ancestry is worrisome to school officials who apparently fear for their reputation if they admit too many kids who just want to concentrate on their calculus, chemistry and so on. Inside Higher Ed has the story.

Most professors would delight in classrooms full of eager, highly motivated students, but officials who think that “diversity” is the most important consideration are willing to keep out some of those hyper-competitive Asians in favor of a “better” student mix.
In his book Inside American Education, Thomas Sowell had much to say about the trend toward sacrificing academic homogeneity in the student body in favor of engineered “diversity” that will make the student body look “rich and interesting” as a Harvard dean of admissions put it. Sowell wrote, “What will look ‘rich and interesting’ to superficial people can of course differ greatly from what scholars who are masters of their respective intellectual disciplines will find to be students who are able to plumb the depths of what they have to offer.”
Sowell continued to argue that the attempt to compose a student body that “looks like America” leads to mismatching of students. Some of the students admitted not for their scholarly abilities but rather because of their ancestry or other educationally-irrelevant characteristics will struggle at schools where the academic demands are too high and some of the whiz-kids who have to settle for second-rank institutions will not progress as rapidly as they otherwise might. The mania for “diversity” has its costs.
Many higher-ed officials have the “we’re going to save the world” mindset. They want to improve social relations, boost the economy, make health care better, and so forth.  All of the rhetoric about that makes for snazzy “state of the university” speeches, but we’d be better off with educators who just concentrate on education.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.


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