Law School Discussion

Scholarships and AA

Re: Scholarships and AA
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2009, 02:08:02 PM »
There's also a very direct issue here:  If URM students are not provided with merit aid, they will have to take out loans.  While Stafford loans do not take credit score into account, this is not the case with GradPlus loans, which require either a good credit score or a co-signer with a good credit score.  URMs (of which I am one) have traditionally not had the same access to opportunities which build credit and/or the education which helps maintain good credit.  Also, we have less access to co-signers with good credit, for similar reasons.  In order to provide equal access to higher education, there has to be equal access to funding.  Merit awards attempt to level that playing field.


And here's another point: a URM law grad still has to deal with discrimination and is less likely to be employed as a lawyer after a few years, even when graduating from a top law school. Those loans will be more difficult to pay off.

Re: Scholarships and AA
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2009, 10:52:27 PM »
"Why is the color of your skin a merit for which you get a scholarship?"

One of the many, and I think valid, arguments in favor of AA is that URMs score lower on standardized tests (likely caused by low SES backgrounds caused in turn, at least in part, by the systemic discrimination that is one aspect of what AA seeks to rectify) - as a group - than do whites. Low SES is correlated with both minority status and lower test scores. If anything - as a group - minority applicants do have a greater need for that money. Or so goes the argument.

I disagree with this argument somewhat. Standardized exams are still culturally biased. For example, verbiage that is more commonly spoken in majority White schools and households, though not the target of the LSAT, still hampers comprehension for ethnic minorities, and even the test makers know it. But they are either apathetic or feel handcuffed to do much about it. Furthermore, URM's are less likely to take an exam course OR purchase sufficient practice materials before their first attempt, and we purportedly re-test at a lower clip when compared to Whites and Asians. 

Economics and intergenrational oppression are certainly a part of the equation, as are laziness and weakness on the part of many ethnic minority parents, who are still looking for handouts, and passing on to their children a welfare mentality. I hate that fact about my people, but its true. And URM students often do not put out the necessary effort to succeed on standardized exams.

My disagreement stems from this: If someone would beat home the point that they need a minumum of 6 months of strong prep, more of them would score in the upper percentiles. i think effort and preparation has much to do with the success levels, or lack thereof. But how do we ensure access to the preparation ? Many URM's need additional training before the LSAT's, such as improved vocabulary and working with varied sentence structures. And they need to study under rigid conditions that allow for repeated testing.

We may not have fancy boats to fish in the lakes as we please, but we now have our poles and bait, and can certainly fish from the shore, i.e., we should take advantage of the opportunities we do have. Given the right amount of determination and savvy, anyone can acheive in America; it's just THAT great! Too many of us do not have that determination, like prisoners who don't realize the bars have been removed, even if the world outside still won't be too welcoming.

Almost every male in my family hates school, and most have dropped out and never sniffed college. And that was their fault. In the 1950's I wouldn't have condoned it, and I don't condone it now. I do not respect that, especially in Black people. We can ill-afford to take for granted one of the two most historically important keys to wealth for Blacks, education (the other is land ownership).

But neither should our society ignore that conditions still exist that make life much tougher for ethnic minorities.



Re: Scholarships and AA
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2009, 11:04:34 PM »
For an interesting analysis of the claims about culturally biased tests, you guys should read The Bell Curve. It addresses a good number of the questions regarding what these tests (standardized exams) actually test, how ses plays into that, and the statistical truths about the importance of ses and intelligence.