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What Comes After the Affirmative Action Mess?
Also: Dropping the SAT makes no sense.
Tim Miller: Here’s some more ways the politicians and colleges are screwing the pooch, round two.
Meg Griffin (from Family Guy): I’m never gonna get into college.
Miller: This is “Not My Party” brought to you by The Bulwark. Okay y’all, if you missed last week’s episode on college costs, student loans, and paying student athletes, go there and check it out.
Bernardo Villalobos (Eugenio Derbez in CODA): Educate yourself.
Miller: But now it’s time to air out the big one in the news lately: affirmative action.
Solomon Veasey (Philip Seymour Hoffman in Cold Mountain): This is a tricky one.
Miller: Even back in my Republican days I was always more sympathetic to affirmative action than your average conservative. The reality is, black folks in particular have been systemically screwed over for a long time.
Chris Turk (Donald Faison on Scrubs): You don’t say?
Miller: College access was the critical way to begin righting that injustice. But we’ve landed in a place where affirmative action has gotten really toxic. Black folks’ accomplishments are being diminished by racist assholes.
Charlie Kirk: “I’m only here because of affirmative action.” We know. You had to go steal a white person’s slot. You do not have the brain-processing power.
Miller: Asian high schoolers who work hard and play by the rules are getting screwed over and some are rightfully resentful. The whole thing’s a mess.
Jack Campbell (Nicolas Cage in The Family Man): It’s complicated.
Miller: So while I think the Supreme Court issuing a near-total ban on race-based admission policies is too extreme, my hope is that it motivates schools to take a different, more equitable approach to admissions. They should change their focus to giving a leg up to people from poor communities everywhere—be it black kids from the West Bank in NOLA or white kids from Appalachia—because that’s where schools can have the biggest impact.
Denny’s Applebee’s Max Manager (from South Park: Post Covid): That’s a pretty goddamn good idea.
Miller: But making that change doesn’t solve everything, ’cause look what else is here: SAT scores.
Patrick (from SpongeBob SquarePants): Testing, testing, testing, testing.
Miller: The new fad for college admissions officers trying to achieve equity is to stop considering standardized tests because they’re racist or something. That is insane.
George Costanzo (Jason Alexander on Seinfeld): I don’t think it’s gonna work out.
Miller: Who do you think is going to have more resources to help them write a good college essay? The rich kid in the burbs with a tutor or poor kids who gotta work after school?
Philip J. Fry (from Futurama): Tough call.
Miller: Standardized tests aren’t perfect but a recent study revealed something interesting about SAT scores. When elite universities look only at scores the group that gets the short end of the stick is the middle class, not poor people of color. Take a look. The people that get the biggest advantage, the 0.1 percent.
Stewie Griffin (from Family Guy): Whaaat?
Miller: Because I guess these hedge funds—I mean universities—need even more money from people like Jared Kushner’s daddy despite skyrocketing tuition costs and the fact that they don’t pay much at all in taxes. Why is Harvard only paying 1 percent in taxes on their endowment again?
Donna Tubbs-Brown (from The Cleveland Show): What?
Cleveland Brown (from The Cleveland Show): Hold up.
Miller: But interesting, by comparison, high-achieving poor kids are doing pretty well, too. So for now the group that’s really screwed is the big middle. It’s kids who score well on tests but whose parents don’t make enough money to pay these skyrocketing tuitions but aren’t poor enough to get substantial aid. They’re the ones who’ve really been left holding the bag.
Marge Simpson (from The Simpsons): You just can’t win.
Miller: The right way to fix that is not dumping standardized tests that have helped high-achieving kids from marginalized communities. It’s ending the affirmative action for uber-wealthy legacies who get in only because their parents make big donations.
Walter Beckett (from Spies in Disguise): We should probably do something about that.
Miller: And our last topic to air out: cancel culture.
Sam Rutherford (from Star Trek: Lower Decks): Oh, ho, ho, ho, spicy.
Miller: We hear plenty about conservative teachers and students who are canceled by liberal universities.
Abe Simpson (from The Simpsons): Have you ever read “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”?
Miller: And some of those cases are legit BS. But the problem isn’t just a one-way street.
Ashley Goudeau: Texas A&M University professor . . . was placed on leave and investigated after she was accused of making negative comments about Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick during a lecture.
Miller: You didn’t hear a lot about that one from the cancel-culture brigade.
Max Tennyson (from Ben 10): That’s very odd.
Miller: My view? How about we stop doing this sh** everywhere? College is for learning and trying out opinions and debating. The last thing we need in our country is a divide between the woke colleges and the anti-woke colleges that are now sprouting up in Texas and Florida and elsewhere. We need a system where every kid has access and they can debate their views openly without interference from politicians waging phony culture wars because they won’t address the real problem.
Lisa Simpson (from The Simpsons): Getting an advanced education.
Miller: See you next week for more “Not My Party.”