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Author Topic: I'm a URM and I'm opposed to racial AA. How about we replace it with class AA?  (Read 13758 times)

zippyandzap

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I'm against AA because of my life experience.

I went to a poor predominantly black (88%) high school. I had smart black friends and equally smart white friends. My black friends, who could not otherwise afford college, received scholarships. My white friends, who could not afford college, received no scholarships. My white friends are now stuck in relatively crappy jobs.



Just to highlight how extreme it was at my school. My friend Mike, who was white, scored a 1200 on the SAT (old score measure) 3.8gpa applied to 4 state schools, he was accepted to all but did not qualify for any scholarships. Mike is the son of single mom school teacher with 5 kids making 35k a year. He did not attend a university, while he hopes to someday too.
My other friend Dave, who was black, scored just over 900 on the SAT with a lower GPA, a low 3, applied to several schools and received a scholarship to most of them. He went to school for 2 years before dropping out.

With state undergrad institutions, I have issue with the awarding of scholarship money based on race. With grad schools, I have issues with basically every aspect. Grad school admittance and scholarship offers should be merit based.



disgusting.
shameful.

LawDog3

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I'm against AA because of my life experience.

I went to a poor predominantly black (88%) high school. I had smart black friends and equally smart white friends. My black friends, who could not otherwise afford college, received scholarships. My white friends, who could not afford college, received no scholarships. My white friends are now stuck in relatively crappy jobs.



Just to highlight how extreme it was at my school. My friend Mike, who was white, scored a 1200 on the SAT (old score measure) 3.8gpa applied to 4 state schools, he was accepted to all but did not qualify for any scholarships. Mike is the son of single mom school teacher with 5 kids making 35k a year. He did not attend a university, while he hopes to someday too.
My other friend Dave, who was black, scored just over 900 on the SAT with a lower GPA, a low 3, applied to several schools and received a scholarship to most of them. He went to school for 2 years before dropping out.

With state undergrad institutions, I have issue with the awarding of scholarship money based on race. With grad schools, I have issues with basically every aspect. Grad school admittance and scholarship offers should be merit based.



disgusting.
shameful.

First, why are you speaking of your black "friend" in that manner? Dropping out doesn't equate with failure. The last time I checked, students could go back to school, and most students do not finish within the prescribed four-year time frame.

As a URM, I have struggled mightily with the AA issue. I once naively believed that replacing race-based AA with economic/class-based AA would benefit the good of society. But I want to offer this Amicus Brief/Amici Curiae for Grutter v. Bollinger, (created by HYS students) for thought:

http://www.law.yale.edu/documents/pdf/News_&_Events/BLSA_Amicus_Brief.pdf

Below is an excerpt from that brief:

ALTERNATIVE RACE-NEUTRAL ADMISSIONS
POLICIES CRITICALLY DIMINISH THE NUMBER
OF BLACK STUDENTS AT ELITE LAW
SCHOOLS AND ARE NOT EFFECTIVE SUBSTITUTES
FOR CURRENT RACE-CONSCIOUS
ADMISSIONS POLICIES


As discussed above, elite law schools fulfill their
public missions by providing racially diverse academic
environments and training attorneys to improve the legal
profession and serve the public. These law schools cannot
continue to realize their missions if they are not able to
consider race as one factor in admissions decisions.

The 21 leading approaches that have been touted as viable race-neutral
alternatives to current law school admissions
policies that take race into account are not in fact
effective, workable or desirable with respect to elite law
schools. Abandoning race-conscious admissions at elite law
schools would lead to a catastrophic reversal of the incremental
progress toward greater racial inclusiveness that
these schools have made. For black students, a shift to a
color-blind or race-neutral admissions system would lead
to admissions results that are tantamount to ďthe inexorable
zero.Ē

Cf. Johnson v. Transp. Agency, 480 U.S. 616,
656-57 (1987) (OíConnor, J., concurring) (quoting International
Bhd. of Teamsters v. United States, 431 U.S. 324,
342 n.23 (1977)) (discussing prima facie evidence of discrimination
under Title VII).

The race-neutral alternatives discussed below are demonstrably
inferior to raceconscious
policies in achieving racial diversity because
they cannot ensure that black students will be represented
in meaningful numbers at most, if not all, of the elite law
schools. Consequently, such alternatives would also
exclude black students from access to gateways to some of
the most prestigious positions in the legal profession.

Accordingly, the benefits gained from employing race-conscious
admissions policies are distinct from, and
greater than, those provided by race-neutral alternatives.11
11 Moreover, even if an effective race-neutral alternative could be
implemented, the mere availability of such an alternative would not
provide a justification for forgoing the use of race-conscious measures.
In fact, race-neutral alternatives cannot fairly be characterized as more
narrowly tailored than carefully crafted race-conscious policies. If race-neutral
alternatives are as effective as the policies they replace, then
these race-neutral policies ďtrammelĒ the expectations of third parties...


Norlan

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What is URM?

LawDog3

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What is URM?

Under-Represented Minority (URM)

r6_philly

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Well my view is that the lower economic and social classes consist of primarily URM's were put in those lower classes by the racist policies and practices of the not so distant past. So some sort of remedy has to be enacted to try to help the groups that were discriminated against. I do not yet see that the impact of the past policies has been completed reversed or remedied, so AA is still required. Although I do not agree with all the specific of the AA practices, I do believe it is necessary and needs to continue.

A class based AA is not going to hit the mark because some of the lower class citizens did not end up in that class because of discrimination based on race. Thats why a racial AA is in place. Although it is certainly not right morally to be discrimnated based on social economical class, it is justified in a capitalist society. So to enact AA policies to benefit the poor as a whole - without consideration for racial background (and that the hardship is a result of it) - would make AA policies socialist, which most of this country oppose.

I guess I still believe that economical natural selection should still be allow to take place, however ones who were put in a disadvantage based on their race should be brough up to speed. And because our racism past has reaching reprecussions - and consider that the civil rights movement isn't as far in the past as slavery - the reprecussions are still alive and well and may take another 5 generations to erase. so AA policies should rightfully go on.

for all the non-URM's who are now having an issue with AA. Remember the AA policies are not supposed to benefit a specific individual, it is meant for the whole group of people. of course some people are going to over achieve, but individual achievement does not discount the hardship of the people as a whole, and neither should it negate any benefit that AA would have rightfully bestow upon that person.

SamE397

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class AA?  goodness gracious.  talk about exacerbating the problem.

with the possible exception of the T14, what you would be doing is letting persons with lesser academic/cognitive ability (lower GPA/LSAT) compete against objectively smarter students for class rank/jobs.  so if you have a school that's mostly 168s, and a socioeconomically disadvantaged person gets in with a 162, not only is the 162 intellectually over-matched, but he's also probably saddled with more debt than the rest of the class (so will suffer even more when he finds himself below median and without career prospects--as a result of competing against kids who are just plain smarter).

not a great idea, on the whole.  those from disadvantaged backgrounds would have more prestigious JDs than they might otherwise, but it sure wouldn't be advantageous to them.  (the obvious exceptions, of course, are the top schools at which everyone is employable.)
The problem is

1. I don't think someone who scores in the top twelve-ten percent of the test is significantly less intelligent than someone scores in the top five-three percent of the test but the process treats people this way. If you don't believe me look at the emprical evidence.
 

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1184302

2. While intelligence is certainly important it's not the only factor that determines success. Does someone who scores a 162 on the LSAT really not have the raw intelligence to be highly successful lawyer? I don't think so.

LawDog3

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class AA?  goodness gracious.  talk about exacerbating the problem.

with the possible exception of the T14, what you would be doing is letting persons with lesser academic/cognitive ability (lower GPA/LSAT) compete against objectively smarter students for class rank/jobs.  so if you have a school that's mostly 168s, and a socioeconomically disadvantaged person gets in with a 162, not only is the 162 intellectually over-matched, but he's also probably saddled with more debt than the rest of the class (so will suffer even more when he finds himself below median and without career prospects--as a result of competing against kids who are just plain smarter).

not a great idea, on the whole.  those from disadvantaged backgrounds would have more prestigious JDs than they might otherwise, but it sure wouldn't be advantageous to them.  (the obvious exceptions, of course, are the top schools at which everyone is employable.)

"Intellectually overmatched?!" Are you serious? So a person with a larger penis is necessarily better in bed? A person who bench-presses more weight can automatically fight better? That's your logic.

Even the LSAC will tell you that. First of all, there is statistically no difference between a 162 LSAT taker and a 165. The LSAT is good, but not THAT good. That's why the LSAC admonishes schools to use "score bands" in decision-making, advice which is all too often ignored.

Q: How is it that Howard Law's Moot Court Team (LSAT's: 145-160) whips the pants off Harvard and Yale (LSAT's: 167-175) every year? I mean...they are intellectually overmatched, according to LSAT scores, right? So...why the repeated incompetence from the kings and queens of the universe?  

Standardized exams DO NOT MEASURE INTELLECT...THEY MEASURE PRAPARATION AND THAT IS IT. Nobody who knows anything about education will tell you different. The fact that people can raise their scores over time proves this.

And the reason URM's typically do not see the jumps in score that white and Asian students do is a lack of access to resources. URM's are more likely to have less free time to prepare for these exams b/c they are more likely to work during school, share in expenses, live on their own or in situations in which the survival of the household depends on their bringing in and contributing an income, their family situations usually entail more catastrophes such as sudden illnesses and deaths that interfere with their studies.

URM's (and people from lower socioeconomic classes) are invariably less likely to have disposable income that allows for expensive test prep courses (which has also been substantiated by the LSAC survey...the one you fill out before the exam), they are less likely to re-take standardized exams due to fewer available funds and free time (which is a real disadvantage now that the ABA requires only the highest score(s), they are less likely to have a relative or direct contact in the field, and at predominantly white undergraduate institutions, they typically get shoddy, less attentive pre-law counseling.

And the situation is nearly as bad for SOME non-URM members of the lower socioeconomic classes.

This creates a huge advantage for a frat-boy whose lawyer parents pay for everything and he takes two quarters off of school to prepare intensively with a tutor and all of the best materials, while his competition tries to do a game or two while still in school and working full-time.

Moreover, the people with the best numbers do not always make the best lawyers; in fact, many find that they are grossly unsuited for the practice.

Matthies

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class AA?  goodness gracious.  talk about exacerbating the problem.

with the possible exception of the T14, what you would be doing is letting persons with lesser academic/cognitive ability (lower GPA/LSAT) compete against objectively smarter students for class rank/jobs.  so if you have a school that's mostly 168s, and a socioeconomically disadvantaged person gets in with a 162, not only is the 162 intellectually over-matched, but he's also probably saddled with more debt than the rest of the class (so will suffer even more when he finds himself below median and without career prospects--as a result of competing against kids who are just plain smarter).

not a great idea, on the whole.  those from disadvantaged backgrounds would have more prestigious JDs than they might otherwise, but it sure wouldn't be advantageous to them.  (the obvious exceptions, of course, are the top schools at which everyone is employable.)

Seriously I donít get why the argument comes up over and over again, you people want to be lawyers but you just gloss over a huge missing part of the puzzle as a non factor: extensive prep for the LSAT. Iíve been on here long enough to see lots of minority posters go through the cycle, one thing that is common with many of them is that they donít have the resources, time, or money to take expensive classes, buy all the books and dedicate 5 hours a day to exam prep for six months.

Likewise I have seen many, many white posters (or people I assume to be white posters) who do have the ability to prep like that, many who have diagnostics in the low 150s who end up, after months of extensive prep scoring in the high 160s or low 170 (many of their second attempt at the test).

This 162 vs. 168 argument though, simply ignores that fact all together and assumes that your LSAT score is relative and equal weather you prep or not. Thatís bogus. I know people who scored 170+ cold on the LSAT and who prepped that high in my class, you can tell who the natural 170 is by talking to them for five minutes, those folks are incredibly bright, but they are also very, very rare.

However, now, with all the tools we have, the chance to take the test over without it hurting your chances to get in, the prep classes and the tests sold by LSAC a lot of people who might have scored 150s or low 160s if they took cold are instead scoring in the high 160s or low 170s. I know some pretty bad law stundents with high prepped LSATs. I don't know any bad law students who took it cold and scored simularly. Granted my clas is a small sample, but ist waht I have observed here.

The fact of the matter is half of any class will end up below the median. I really think itís unwise to just make blankest statements that 168s are smarter than 162s, therefore inferring those with 162s will be at the bottom of the class of ďsmarterĒ 168s. In fact I would be willing to argue that a cold 162 is possible smarter than a heavily prepped 168. Maybe the 162 does not need six months to get one subject so therefore does better on the five subjects tested in three months in law school. The fact of the matter is your not comparing apples to apples with this assumption, some folks score 168 cold, some need a bunch of help to get there, itís not some static number like your trying to make it out to be. In the end I would caution anyone from thinking they are smarter than anyone else based on thier LSAT score, even more so if you needed a lot of help to get there. Your classmates will be doubting themslves more and working harder than you, and that 162 could end up kicking your over confidant ass.

It would be great in LSAC would do a better correlation study on extensive prep to LS GPA, but I donít think they will, if it turned out to be like I describe above, then it would be bad for the reliability of the test, and bad for LSAC because they make a lot of money selling and licensing prep tests to prep companies. 
*In clinical studies, Matthies was well tolerated, but women who are pregnant, nursing or might become pregnant should not take or handle Matthies due to a rare, but serious side effect called him having to make child support payments.

SamE397

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As for the 162/168 differential, if this sort of AA would be treated like URM AA, then the actual disparity would typically be greater.  And in any event, since we're talking about this on the macro level, the class of students with lower LSATs/GPAs will not perform as well as the majority with higher numbers against whom they are competing. 

It's not about whether X, a 162, can compete against Y, a 168.  It's about whether making a policy of pitting 162s against 168s (or 158s against 168s, or whatever) is actually advantageous to the lower scorers as a class.  The study you link to acknowledges that a general correlation exists.  I mean, it does.  Otherwise the test wouldn't exist.

Now, if admissions departments could find some way to look at the economic AA 162 candidates and pick out the ones that are more likely to succeed when pitted against 168s, maybe that would mitigate the actual GPA/LSAT differential.  But that effect (resume strength, PS strength, whatever) is already normalized into the admissions process.  So again, we can only judge these candidates meaningfully on their scores, and their scores are the best predictors of performance.

As for whether 162 X or 168 Y would be a better lawyer, I surely don't know that.  But the issue, again, is whether we would be affording the class of disadvantaged 162s better career opportunities.  By mixing in 5,000 Xs into 100,000 Ys, are you helping X in the long run?  Forcing those people to compete against "objectively smarter" people for rank/jobs is surely not the way to do it.
Well, UofI which is one of the more aggressive schools when it comes to pushing diversity has a 166 or 167 average LSAT and a 25% LSAT of 160. The bell curve distribution of LSAT scores means that is actually a bigger gap than the 162/168 split. As far as I know, UofI doesn't have problems with students being outmatched intellectually by their peers. I don't want to become one of those guys who's tries to say that testing doesn't account for anything but the simple fact of the matter is that if you look at the numbers the testing doesn't account for as much the ABA would like you to think. The reason the LSAT has become the defining criteria for admissions is because of The US News and World Reports rankings which are based heavily on the LSAT of incoming classes.

Matthies

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As for the 162/168 differential, if this sort of AA would be treated like URM AA, then the actual disparity would typically be greater.  And in any event, since we're talking about this on the macro level, the class of students with lower LSATs/GPAs will not perform as well as the majority with higher numbers against whom they are competing. 

It's not about whether X, a 162, can compete against Y, a 168.  It's about whether making a policy of pitting 162s against 168s (or 158s against 168s, or whatever) is actually advantageous to the lower scorers as a class.  The study you link to acknowledges that a general correlation exists.  I mean, it does.  Otherwise the test wouldn't exist.

Now, if admissions departments could find some way to look at the economic AA 162 candidates and pick out the ones that are more likely to succeed when pitted against 168s, maybe that would mitigate the actual GPA/LSAT differential.  But that effect (resume strength, PS strength, whatever) is already normalized into the admissions process.  So again, we can only judge these candidates meaningfully on their scores, and their scores are the best predictors of performance.

 I don't want to become one of those guys who's tries to say that testing doesn't account for anything but the simple fact of the matter is that if you look at the numbers the testing doesn't account for as much the ABA would like you to think. The reason the LSAT has become the defining criteria for admissions is because of The US News and World Reports rankings which are based heavily on the LSAT of incoming classes.

I think this is exactly why its stayed around even with mounting evidence that its not a great predictor. Although, its LSAC not the ABA that touts the test. LSACís own correlation studies say GPA alone is a poor predictor of 1L law school GPA, likewise they say LSAT alone is a poor predictor of 1 LS GPA, the only thing they claim is a decent predictor is GPA and LSAT combined out of the three things they track, GPA alone, LSAT alone, and GPA/LSAT combined. And the last study I looked at had that at .25. Then we throw in prepping and I think the whole picture changes, to the point that making claims like 156 vs. 166 are just arbitrary if we donít know anything about how those people prepared for the exam.

Iím sort of in a unique situation in that in my class, part-time, we have a much wider spread of LSAT scores than the closer bands of my schools FT program. We have 148s and 175s all competing against each other. Iím friends with most of the people in the top of the class, and other than the one guy who took the test cold and scored a 175 there is very little correlation between LSAT and rank in the top 25 people or so, including some very low LSAT scores. 

My personal hunch is this: the LSAT was originally designed to test ability (your score w/o prep), not performance (your score after learning the test). Thus those that take it cold and score very high have a natural predictivness to do well that the exam does a good job of pointing out. However, now that the vast majority of folks prep, many of them very extensively, the test has morphed into a performance exam, he who preps best wins. But the test its self has not changed. Therefore one of two things could be going on, either itís not really that great of a predictor unless you take it cold, or its less of a predictor now that most people prep higher than their abilities would normally get them to score.

What we need to end this debate is a correlation study that specifically tracks the level of prep for the exam and first year LS GPA. Currently the exam sheet only asks did you prep and makes you choose one type of prep, (book, pratice test, class) not all that apply. It could easily be changed to choose all that apply and then add a range of hours spent prepping. But my hunch is LSAC would not like to see what that does to their old .25 correlation of LSAT and GPA. Anyway, thats my theory and I'm sticking to it, at least that's how I have seen it, it would be easier to ingor if my class all scored within 10 point of each other, but they did not and thier LSAT to GPA has not been preditive. 
*In clinical studies, Matthies was well tolerated, but women who are pregnant, nursing or might become pregnant should not take or handle Matthies due to a rare, but serious side effect called him having to make child support payments.