Monday, October 15, 2007

Affirmative Action Harms Black Lawyers

Interesting study:
Does affirmative action work? An explosive study that suggests it does not is pitting the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights against the State Bar of California in a battle over admissions data that could determine once and for all if racial preferences help or hurt minority students.

"Currently only about one in three African-Americans who goes to an American law school passes the bar on the first attempt and a majority never become lawyers at all," says UCLA law professor Richard Sander.

In an article published in the Stanford Law Review, Sander and his research team concluded several thousand would-be black lawyers either dropped out of law school or failed to pass the bar because of affirmative action.

Known as the ‘mismatch’ effect, Sander claims students who are unprepared and whose academic credentials are below the median are admitted to law schools they are unqualified to attend. If those same students instead were to go to less elite or competitive schools, more would graduate, pass the bar and become lawyers.
As the article notes, it's imperative that the California Bar turn over their statistics to show if the findings are as correct as claimed. While it may be "controversial", hard data would make it less, not more controversial. That some people might not like the results of such data is too bad - bad statistics lead to worse policies which hurt the people they are trying to help the most. Putting people in positions where they are unable to succeed does not help them, even if (especially if?) it is an Ivy League school. It simply means that they'll fail out and be in far worse shape than they had been otherwise.

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