“Just Blind Chance”: The Rising Call For “Random Selection” For College Admissions

Random selection is not generally an approach that most people opt for in the selection of doctors or even restaurants or a movie. However, it appears to be the new model for some in higher education. Former Barnard College mathematics professor Cathy O’Neil has written a column calling for “random selection” of all college graduates to guarantee racial diversity. It is ever so simple: “Never mind optional standardized tests. If you show interest, your name goes in a big hat.” She is not the only one arguing for blind or random admissions.

Recently, University of California President Janet Napolitano announced that the entire system will no longer base admissions on standardized tests — joining a “test-blind” admissions movement nationally. Others have denounced standardized testing as vehicles for white supremacy. Education officials like Alison Collins, vice president of the San Francisco Board of Education, have declared meritocracy itself to be racist. There is a growing criticism that the problem with higher education is that it relies on merit rather than status as the driving criteria for admissions.

O’Neil and others are arguing not just for blind but actually random selection to achieve true diversity. O’Neil argues that it would also “take the pressure off students to conform to the prevailing definition of the ideal candidate” and allow them “to be kids again, smoking pot and getting laid in between reading Dostoyevsky and writing bad poetry.”

Others have called for purely random selection. In 2019, the liberal New America foundation argued that highly selective colleges and universities should admit students by lottery. Amy Laitinen, Claire McCann, and Rachel Fishman  argued that not only should admissions be random but schools “would lose all eligibility not only to Title IV aid but also to federal research dollars.” They argued that this “This would do away with admissions preferences that overwhelmingly favor white and wealthy applicants, including for athletes and legacies.”

In her column, O’Neil admits that there is a “downside” like the fact that “applications to the most selective colleges would soar, causing acceptance rates to plunge and leaving the ‘strongest’ candidates with little chance of getting into their chosen schools.” However, she treats the downside of eliminating the value of actually doing well in high school and tests as just a question of privilege: “The kids who struggled to get perfect grades, who spent their high school years getting really good at obscure yet in-demand sports, the legacies and the offspring of big donors, would lose their advantages.”

In an earlier column, I noted that the move by California to get rid of standardized tests occurred after California voters rejected an expensive campaign to reintroduce affirmative action in college admissions. The Supreme Court is also considering whether to take the case of Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College. The Court this week asked the Biden Administration to take a position in the case involving allegations that Harvard has discriminated against Asian applicants. Litigants cite a study finding that Asian Americans needed SAT scores that were about 140 points higher than white students; the gap with admitted African American and Hispanic students is even greater.

The case could allow for clarity on the issue after years of conflicting 5-4 decisions that have ruled both for and against such race criteria admissions. There is a concern among universities that the Court could be moving toward a clear decision against the use of race as a criterion. Even the author of the 2003 majority opinion in Grutter v. Bollinger, Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, said she expected “that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today.” That was roughly 25 years ago.

I previously noted:

“In the Harvard case, the scores are particularly important because the litigants allege that subjective factors were systemically used to disfavor them on issues such as likability and personality. While the lower courts ruled for Harvard, the trial judge did note that there may have been bias in favor of minority admissions and encouraged Harvard to deal with such “implicit bias” while monitoring ‘any significant race-related statistical disparities in the rating process.’ But what if there are no ‘statistical disparities’ because there are no objective statistics?”

O’Neil argues for blind and random selection precisely because it would prevent such court review.

“Colleges wouldn’t have to worry about fighting claims of racial discrimination in the Supreme Court because by construction the admissions process would be nondiscriminatory. No more “soft” criteria. No more biased tests. Just blind chance.”

Blind selection is the final default position for many schools. Universities have spent decades working around court decisions limiting the reliance on race as an admissions criterion.  Many still refuse to disclose the full data on scores and grades for admitted students. If faced with a new decision further limiting (or entirely eliminating) race as a criterion, blind selection would effectively eliminate any basis for judicial review.

It would also destroy any value for the students to work to achieve greater achievement in math, science, and other subjects. O’Neil is right. They would be free to spend their time “smoking pot and getting laid in between reading Dostoyevsky and writing bad poetry.” The new model for admissions would range from Hunter Thompson to Hunter Biden.

The push for blind or random admissions is the ultimate sign of the decadence of society. What O’Neil is describing is a system designed for the intellectual dilettante. Of course, countries like China are moving to dominate the world economy with kids who are not focusing on good sex and bad poetry. Higher education has long been based on intellectual achievement and discovery. Admission to higher ranked schools has been a key motivating factor for millions of students, including the children of many first generation Americans. Their achievement has translated into national advancement in science and the economy. It has served to bring greater opportunities and growth for all Americans.

Now, recognition of such achievement is rejected by writers like O’Neil as “perpetuating the privileges of wealth” and preventing true racial diversity in our schools. So we will eliminate merit-based admissions entirely and reduce higher education to a lottery system based on pure luck.

And, when the world discovers that bad poetry holds the key to the new global economy, we will once again rise as a world power.

92 thoughts on ““Just Blind Chance”: The Rising Call For “Random Selection” For College Admissions”

  1. I think the NCAA, NBA and NFL should select athletes at random to ensure racial equity. Measuring speed in the 40 yard dash is discriminatory. Job applicants should be hired at random by companies to ensure racial equity. Medical schools should accept candidates at random and you should select your heart surgeon at random to ensure you give all races a chance. Engineers who maintain public works and infrastructure should be hired at random and not based on provable qualifications. Rather than have elections, members of Congress should be selected at random.

    What “progressives” don’t seem to realize is that the quality that comes out of the back end of a process is determined by the standards and practices in place to evaluate inputs at the front end. Schools are the entry points.

    What these schools are doing is the most idiotic practice that could ever be contemplated. I can’t believe what I have read.

    1. I think the NCAA, NBA and NFL should select athletes at random.”

      NOPE in stupid sports actual merit counts, unlike in building and flying airplanes or serving as an air traffic controller.

      Notice too that “Diverdity” has no role in pro sports. Don’t need it. Don’t want it.

      Diversity isn’t important in crime either. More than 54% of the murders are committed by blacks.

      I don’t have numbers on brawls in Waffle House, McDonalds, etc but by the videos and police reports I can make a good guess.

    2. Apparently, academics don’t appreciate the value of “merit” when it comes to education. I would wager that they do appreciate “merit” when it comes to choosing a good reliable car mechanic, a good doctor, a good lawyer, a pet boarding facility or anything else near and dear to their lives. Who cares if the mechanic or other service provider doesn’t provide diversity to his /her profession. Merit is the primary requirement for selection. Why in the world wouldn’t that same qualification be utilized as the primary criteria in admitting students to an education setting to prepare them for meritorious service to the public?

  2. The assumption is that a university education must be for everyone is not correct. Students march lockstep into this track while skills training is set aside. Yes, some schools get it and are bringing back vocational training in professions that quite frankly pay more than university degreed workers.

    For those that want to attend university but don’t quite have the grades, they have multiple tracks starting with community college and state university. These are the proving grounds for students wishing to go to more prestigious graduate programs and they are accredited by the same body who accredits the Ivy League schools.

    The gap occurs in public education and in the home environment. There are plenty of people who have overcome a poor home environment, often due to a great teacher, relative, older sibling, or a caring adult in their lives. Closing the gap and not lowering the standards is the key. No person will feel good if they get a degree that occurred because of lowered standards instead of rising to rigorous standards. If that were the case perhaps we should lower the basketball hoop to six feet tall instead of ten?

    The trick is to identify bright students from challenged environments who don’t feel they have a shot at higher education or skills training and work hard to encourage their success along their path and to rise to high standards not eliminate them.

    To be accredited, a university must stay within the framework of the USDE and be scrutinized by both the USDE approved accreditation body and CHEA (Council for Higher Education Accreditation). To remain accredited these institutions must meet a wide array of standards. Statistics show that high entrance scores correlate to students success. Universities must have student success in order to survive. It is as simple as that.

    There must be more to this story than a quick headline.

  3. There is no reason to fall into the 4-year trap.
    It took me 9+ years to purchase my first scholastic diploma.
    I was too busy over these nine to learn what I finally finish a degree.

    By learning what I wanted to learn over time I needed to learn. I worked for Bell Labs.
    I developed surgical skills that save saved countless accident victims, but was present for the first D@C
    not for surgical reasons. The surgeon baptized the child in case the child was alive

    I developed software that counted frankfurters and helped the Space Shuttle.

    Find a 4-year program. Never.
    I remember the advertisements of “Stay in School,. Get your Diploma”

    I Did.

  4. A 700 pound bronze statue of George Floyd has been unveiled at Newark City Hall.


    We have people toppling statues of George Washington but it is just fine to put up a statue celebrating a life-long drug addict and criminal who on at least one occasion shoved a pistol into the belly of a pregnant woman he was robbing and who died of a drug overdose while resisting arrest.

    This is a fine role model for the kids in the ‘hood.

    Meanwhile, a police officer who was trying to arrest this thug using procedures approved in the department manual has been sent to prison after a show trial in which errors and abuses were heaped onto the defense with a complacent, or cooperative, judge.

    Do you suppose the police will stand by watching with their thumbs up their behinds if a mob tosses ropes over the George Floyd statue and pulls it down as the police have done many times with other statues of honorable men?

    It is very easy to grow cynical about the rotting institutions in this country.

    1. Young,

      I heartily agree with you that there should not be a statute honoring Floyd. With everything else that you said, I vehemently disagree.

      1. “With everything else that you said, I vehemently disagree”


        So what?

  5. Scalpels at 10 baby steps. Two babies… fetuses enter, one remains viable. Diversity rules. Socially justice. Social progress. A wicked solution.

  6. What would be the point of studying hard in high school, if nothing you do can increase your chances of getting into a top university?

    How long will any university be considered excellent, after it does away with meritocracy in favor of random selection? By definition, its students will be an average cross section of the population, and therefor incapable of rigorous study.

    All universities will be average. This is apropos as it would be a form of equity. No more top schools. Just mediocre ones.

    People are throwing away their freedoms, their opportunities, and their blessings with both hands. I wish I could send some of these activists to an assortment of other countries. After 6 months they would return with their eyes opened to how lucky they are to live here.

    I remember after I returned from a stay in South America, US infrastructure looked massive to me. The buildings looked enormous. A freeway overpass looked monolithic. The scale of infrastructure here is an order of magnitude different than South America.

    Where I visited, a “restaurant” meant a dead steer on a table. Just walking into a grocery store, or having 45 different restaurants within a short radius to choose from was an inconceivable luxury. Getting dressed in the morning without enormous insects crawling in my clothes was a luxury. Having the varied assortment of foods in a US pantry and fridge was a luxury. Not having to heat some food in a tin can over a fire was a luxury. Being able to wear shorts in public again was a freedom. Not having to worry about walking too far out on the beach alone because of roving bands of thieves was a freedom.

    There is nothing like seeing how people around the world live to make you appreciate the little things here that we take for granted. I suppose a silver lining about the pandemic is that we will all hopefully appreciate the little things, like the availability of toilet paper at the grocery store.

    1. Karen,

      I have never been to South America, and now I never will thanks to your description! I would recommend that you travel to Europe, perhaps, Switzerland. Zurich is not at all like what you describe. And funny thing, the Swiss are not fleeing their county to live here. They seem very content with their lives.

      1. Oh no! I didn’t mean to put you off from South America. I was deep in the rain forest. There are lovely amenities for tourists and eco tourists in some countries, especially Costa Rica.

        I have been to Europe a few times, although when I went to Switzerland I was so young as not to remember much.

        Why would the Swiss flee their country? They are in a capitalist Western country with great chocolate and skiing. It’s Sweden who accepted too many refugees from countries that abuse women, and have now seen a commensurate increase in rape and other crimes against women. I don’t think it’s risen to the point that the Swiss would disperse; they just stay away from certain parts of their own country and take care in the pools.

  7. Community College is where all all “low scoring” students should go – to prove that they can do college work. Not smoke pot, have party sex, and write bad poetry – or more like mean tweets against the designated 2 tweet hate targets.

  8. “Just Blind Chance”: The Rising Call For “Random Selection” For College Admissions

    The defective logic espoused by these myopic ideologues is a recipe for disaster as it will doom future generations to living within a 3rd rate nation based upon pot luck.

    Death of a Nation

    Starring – Cathy O’Neil as William “Willy” Loman

    Co-starring – Janet Napolitano as Linda Loman

    Co-starring – Alison Collins as Biff Loman

    Co-starring – Amy Laitinen as Harold “Happy” Loman

    Co-starring – Claire McCann as Charley

    Co-starring – Rachel Fishman as Bernard

    Subject – The waning days of a failing nation

    Genre – Tragedy

    Setting – 2020’s United States of America

    Synopsis: Willy Loman finds his nation crumbling as his delusional ideology further fractures his tenuous grasp on reality in Arthur Miller’s post-modern dream-like meditation on the cost of the faux American dream.

  9. Elsewhere, Turley has argued that investing in high school education is the solution to economically disadvantaged students, not eliminating meritocracy. Great. When society has made early education of all students a financial priority, we can resume meritocracy. After 25 years of re-building our public school system, we can be confident that all students have had an equal opportunity to excel or not by their own merit and not due to any disparity in their education.

    1. Jeff S.,
      Any gains in early education (say, with Head Start), flatten out by third grade.

      I’m not saying early childhood education isn’t important. There are some issues with sustaining excellence that need to be teased out. Some of it pertains to cultural attitudes towards excellence, the personal costs for excellence and meritocracy that involve work ethic and responsibility, attitudes towards what people of low socioeconomic class can achieve (by poor people and of them)–in other words: expectations, the role of high-stakes testing, unhelpful pedagogical ideas, etc.

      1. Prairie Rose,

        It’s a complicated subject which I am not qualified to opine. I do believe in merit, but I recognize that wealthy parents/communities give their children a leg up- all else being equal- and that ought not to be the case.

        If we truly demand a genuine meritocracy, then colleges need to dispense with favoring athletes and alumni legacies, neither of which are based upon academic merit. What are the chances of that happening? None….maybe MIT and Caltech are purely merit based.

        1. Jeff,
          “that wealthy parents/communities give their children a leg up- all else being equal- and that ought not to be the case.”

          What do you mean here? What are wealthy communities doing that poorer ones are not? It does not just boil down to money.

          “If we truly demand a genuine meritocracy, then colleges need to dispense with favoring athletes and alumni legacies, neither of which are based upon academic merit”

          The alumni legacies are issues at private school or Ivy leagues. Perhaps I am too cynical, but I’m not confident they are really, truly interested in meritocracy anyway. Athletes are supposed to clear a minimum bar for the NCAA. Perhaps that bar needs to be raised or at least enforced. However, the NCAA athletes I have known are plenty accomplished even academically.

          Meritocracy would mean eliminating quotas.

          1. Hi Prairie Rose,

            You said, “What do you mean here? What are wealthy communities doing that poorer ones are not? It does not just boil down to money.”

            I don’t believe that it just boils down to money. I did qualify my statement by saying “all else being equal” which admittedly they never are. There are many factors which affect success. I am just saying that money should not be one of them. Money means better equipped schools and better teachers on account of higher salaries. Adequately equipped schools and well paid teachers should be afforded ALL high school students.

            You say, “Athletes are supposed to clear a minimum bar for the NCAA.“

            A meritocracy means never lowering the bar; rather, raising it.

            You say, “Meritocracy would mean eliminating quotas.“

            Correct. It would lead to fewer black students as well as a hell of lot more Jews and Asians in the top universities.

            Jeff Silberman

            1. Jeff S.,
              “Money means better equipped schools and better teachers on account of higher salaries.”

              Quite often this is the case, but not necessarily. Secondary (grades 7-12) should have a degree in the field they are teaching, not just a “middle school education” degree. I do not think this degree delivers sufficient content. English teachers should have a degree in English, if at all possible. A minor in English with English certification might suffice if the candidate demonstrates a strong handle of the material (well-read).

              “Adequately equipped schools and well paid teachers should be afforded ALL high school students.”

              I agree. How do you think this can accomplished while still supporting self-governance and involvement of taxpayers and the community?

              A culture of high expectations within the school, as well as the community at large goes a long way. Fostering this culture in places where this element is not already thoroughly present is challenging. How could such a culture be grown? What needs to be worked into the soil, so to speak?

              1. Pbinca,

                I can’t answer how one can foster a culture of high expectations. It couldn’t hurt if the students had reason to believe that the community was not abandoning them to their own devices and blaming their failure on their own lack of initiative. Provide all students the same educational advantages afforded wealthy communities so that they have no excuse but their own lack of initiative to account for their failure.

                Understandably, conservatives would rather not dig deep into their pocketbooks to subsidize the education of those children not in their wealthier communities. Instead, they rather advocate that Ole’ Time Religion to be worked “into the soil” as you put it! If only America had not squandered trillions of dollars building and maintaining an unnecessary nuclear arsenal of thousands of warheads which could have been better spent on education…

                1. Jeff S.,

                  Pbinca? She has responded on this thread also. I am Prairie Rose.

                  “It couldn’t hurt if the students had reason to believe that the community was not abandoning them to their own devices and blaming their failure on their own lack of initiative.”

                  I don’t think that is quite it. There is a lot to unpack here.

                  What community?
                  Who is abandoning them to their own devices?
                  Are students being confronted about their lack of initiative? This is generally not what happens at schools.
                  Conversely, though, are students encouraged to take the initiative?
                  Are adults helping them envision their best future?

                  “Understandably, conservatives would rather not dig deep into their pocketbooks to subsidize the education of those children not in their wealthier communities.”

                  This is misconstruing conservatives and their perceptions regarding education and school funding.

                  It is way more complicated than what you posit.

                  Further, school funding has increased significantly, in spite of military spending.

                  1. Prairie Rose,

                    My apologies for the confusion.

                    I probably should not have weighed in at all, for I admitted that I am not very knowledgeable about this particular topic. I’m just glad that my school days are well behind me and that my studies were not subjected to the distraction of the Internet!

                    You raise a lot of questions. Give me your answers!

                    1. Jeff S.,
                      I asked a lot of questions in an effort to better understand what you were saying.

                      “I admitted that I am not very knowledgeable about this particular topic.”

                      But you are educated. You must have some perspective on what constitutes a sound education and what it takes to gain one. What do you see as the pros and cons of your own education?

                      “You say, “Athletes are supposed to clear a minimum bar for the NCAA.“
                      A meritocracy means never lowering the bar; rather, raising it.”

                      Everyone has to meet a minimum bar to get into various colleges–some bars are higher than others. Perhaps I am wrong, but the minimum bar for the NCAA has not been lowered beneath that expected for non-athletes. Quite a few of the athletes I have known were quite accomplished academically, too.

                      “Provide all students the same educational advantages afforded wealthy communities so that they have no excuse but their own lack of initiative to account for their failure.”

                      What are poorer schools lacking? Mine is lacking textbooks. They are not teaching some topics and skills, too (it appears to me that this is happening because they want to focus on things covered on the standardized tests). But, there are also other non-academic elements that should be practiced but aren’t. Expectations and scaffolding learning such that students can continue progressing effectively is another.

                    2. Prairie Rose,

                      I described my prep school education elsewhere on this topic. I don’t anything to add. I’m just glad I had a great education at a private school and went on to Dartmouth where I was classmates with two disreputable individuals on Fox News- Laura Ingraham and Dinesh D’Souza. Both were very controversial even at college, and they have lived up to the promise of their youth if that is any satisfaction to them.


        2. Jeff, you said, “but I recognize that wealthy parents/communities give their children a leg up- all else being equal- and that ought not to be the case.”

          It depends on what you mean. Wealthy parents are more likely to value education. They are able to provide tutors when needed. They can pay for expensive tuitions at private schools and universities.

          Should wealthy parents not be allowed to spend their money on their offspring?

          One of the reasons why I support school choice is that parents should have options on where to send their children. As it stands, here in CA, you have to apply to your current school district, as well as the district you want your kid to attend, for permission to change districts. We shouldn’t need permission to leave a failing school district.

          I like how some European countries, like Breda, if I recall correctly, attach school funds directly to the student, who can take that fund anywhere they choose to attend. This makes schools compete for students. Failing schools would lose all their students. A downside is a longer commute, but it’s better than getting a sub par education.

          I also think that schools should be able to crack down hard on violent students. There are schools where violence on the grounds is normal. Walking the hallways is like a gauntlet. Yet there is pushback against students getting in trouble or there being armed security.

          If there’s a need, there should be metal detectors, drug dogs, on site police officer, counselors…anything that will make at least that one spot safe for kids. There needs to be efforts to create an environment where learning is a goal, not something to be ashamed of. Kids aren’t learning anything at some of our worst schools in the country. It’s a scandal. And part of the problem is the environment in the home and the neighborhood. A mother can want her son to a good education all she wants, but if they live in a gang or high crime neighborhood, there is going to be intense peer pressure to be violent and a school slacker to survive.

          1. Karen,
            “attach school funds directly to the student, who can take that fund anywhere they choose to attend”

            This is unfair to the taxpayers. They have no say-so in how *their* money is spent. Students or their families are not elected to make such decisions.

    2. As mentioned, we have 50 years of data proving “early childhood education” shows no influence past the 3rd grade.

      But as Veep Harris is want to say, we have to go to the core problem, The government incentives that continue to destroy family structure. Until we understand that no amount of money can replace a male and female, committed couple rearing children.
      Uncle Sam is a worthless replacement for family.

    3. Jeff:

      As a parent, I agree with Prairie Rose. From my own research, she is correct that the advances of Head Start do flatten out quickly.

      There are programs like Harlem Children’s Zone which have made great improvements in outcome.

      In my opinion, there are several problems with the current public school system which lead to these disparities:

      1. The public school system has a poor record of teaching reading and math proficiency. They have been perniciously stubborn about incorporating reading research into their curriculum, and instead cling to blended learning, which produces roughly 40% of students below grade level in reading. You should check out this article (https://www.apmreports.org/episode/2018/09/10/hard-words-why-american-kids-arent-being-taught-to-read). There is an audio portion about an hour long that is worth the listen. You can cue it up on your phone before you begin a drive. I urge people to read this series of articles on literacy in America. How can kids become proficient in math if they lack reading skills to understand the word problems?

      2. Parental involvement is key in kids’ success. Each teacher has to divide his or her attention between 25 students, more or less. Some will be ahead, and some behind. She can’t spend all day with 25 kids, individually, going over what they don’t understand. Parental involvement includes a) a family sub culture that strongly emphasizes education as more important than any other activity, including sports, recreation, or hangin out on the couch; b) either personally helping kids with homework or getting them a tutor.

      3. Too many schools have a culture of students in which education is viewed as pointless, there is intense peer pressure to skip school or zone out, those who participate are mocked, and the hallways are some of the most dangerous places in America. (https://youtu.be/-SRCY8FqoyQ)

      At the core of the problem is the family sub culture. Regardless of race, if the subculture does not value education, it is unlikely the kid is going to excel in school. For example, I have personally witnessed white and Latino parents at my son’s school tell their children, in my presence, that school doesn’t matter. I have seen parents rip up notes home from the teacher about missed homework, or misbehavior in class. There was a kid who was really blue about getting in trouble with his teacher. His mother told him not to worry about it because school didn’t matter. I can’t tell you how hard it was not to squawk at her that she was a moron for saying that to her own child. When he grows up and has no prospects, she’ll probably blame “the system.” She was white (trash). There was a Latino boy in my son’s class who virtually never turned in homework, constantly missed school, and was so totally lost that he didn’t understand the concept of multiplication, let alone be able to multiply a 3 digit number by a 3 digit number. His absences, lack of help at home, lack of homework led to him missing the foundations, which meant that he didn’t understand anything that came afterward. I was shocked that the school hadn’t addressed these gaps.

      That was when I learned that there seems to be no consistent response to help kids who either have no help at home, or their parents actively oppose schooling. I just assumed there were legions of volunteer tutors, or after school programs, to help these kids, who surprisingly come from a variety of socioeconomic classes. It’s not just the poor whose parents blow off school, although it does seem to be more common. I know middle class parents who never check their kids’ homework, don’t go through their textbooks to see what they’re learning, and don’t question their kids to find out what their weaknesses are in the topic they’re studying. It comes as a surprise when they are informed their kid is failing. Then they’re stumbling through Youtube videos on Common Core, at a total loss as to how to fix it.

      I am passionate about wanting kids to have schools that are safe from threats from within and without, and every opportunity for an excellent education. Whatever your zip code, there should be an excellent school. This is one of the reasons why I strongly support school choice, including online learning platforms if there are just no good schools within your radius. A parent has got to have options.

      Now, you said that we can return to meritocracy once all kids have an equal opportunity for a great education. However, without a meritocracy, poor performing students are getting funneled into schools for which they are totally unqualified. This has led to a very high dropout rate. Instead of being matched with a school and a major which they were academically qualified for, they were getting overfeed, and flunking out. When I was at college years ago, one of my professors complained that he had to teach the same class to two different members of the auditorium – those who got in on their own merit, regardless of skin color, and those who got in on Affirmative Action. They filled the class up, and then half would flunk out before the class ended. All they were doing was preventing qualified students from being able to get registered for the class, and wasting their own time.

      You usually can’t “catch up” once you’re already in college. Not for a rigorous degree. That’s one of the reason why there’s been this proliferation of fluff degrees, like degrees in activism, social justice, and gender studies. They had to come up with degrees that unprepared students could actually achieve.

      The time to help those students was in the first grade. They’ll always be behind in their education. That’s where the focus should be.

      If a student is not prepared for college, then they should be encouraged to go into trade schools. Yet college is pushed like that’s the only option. This leads to them flunking out and having nothing, when if they’d gone to a trade school, they would be making a good income, and chuckling at the gender studies major working at Starbucks.

      1. Karen,

        I don’t disagree with your observations. I was fortunate to have attended an all-male prep school in which I had to wear a coat and tie. There was no corporeal punishment- it was not that long ago! But the students by and large were not slackers. And a disproportionate number of the top students were accepted into the Ivy League which was one of the- dare I say it- “privileges” of this prep school.

        So, I guess you would call me “old school” where I studied 3 years of Latin! In addition, my parents gave me two professions from which to choose- medicine or law, I chose the latter. Thus, I can’t relate to your observations, and I am in no position to disputes them.

      2. Karen: you didn’t go to college. Stop pretending you did. And, no college professor would say the things you claim to a class. That would not happen.

  10. I can see the next step: faculty should reflect the diversity in the student population, so let’s hire randomly from a pool of qualified applicants, say, with PhDs. But then, what about promotion and tenure? If we want to ensure diversity, then those decisions shouldn’t be based on biased criteria either. Let’s make them random instead! This sounds like a terrible idea until you read this: https://archive.nytimes.com/query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage-9C05E1DD1E39F930A25751C1A96F9C8B63.html

  11. That last comment was satire/snark.

    It does bring up a serious question. Does the granting of scholarships now become a racists activity. There are lots of merit scholarships out there, each of my kids earned several.

  12. If you had just awakened from a 30-year sleep, you’d believe this was satire.

  13. OT

    “Affordable Care Act Survives Latest Supreme Court Challenge”

    The court sidestepped the larger issue in the case, whether the 2010 health care law can stand without a provision that required most Americans to obtain insurance or pay a penalty.

    – NY Times

    Article 1, Section 8, Congress has the power to tax for ONLY “…general Welfare…” not individual welfare, specific welfare, redistribution of wealth, charity or favor.

    No portion of the American welfare state is constitutional.

    The inmates have taken over the asylum.

    The judicial branch and Supreme Court have maliciously and treasonously failed to support the Constitution; their sworn duty.

    The Supreme Court controverts the clear English language of the Constitution and criminally usurps the power of the legislative branch.

    It’s long past time to impeach, convict and penalize the judicial branch.

    “Beer Barrel Polka”

    “Roll out the [guillotines], we’ll have a barrel of fun.”

    – The Andrews Sisters

    It is long past time to fully re-implement the literal “manifest tenor” of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

    “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

    – Declaration of Independence, 1776

  14. I am pulling all my money out of my scholarship funds for college students and for two colleges I supported. Support the wildlife!

  15. Charlottesville, Va has taken a different approach. They have declared 86% of their students as ‘gifted’, stopped advanced placements and thus created the equivalent of a mostly blind lottery. It seems they had to go to 86% to get the ‘correct’ diversity. You can’t make this stuff up. Now if we could just get the Chinese and Russians to follow our example…

  16. These people act like the problem starts and ends with admissions. I was just reading somewhere that standardized tests are the best indicator (even more so than high school GPA) of a student’s performance at the college level. So in other words, what happens after these randomized students are admitted into programs that are way, way above their heads? Do they flunk out or are grades now going to be put on little pieces of paper and tossed into the hat to be decided at random as well? Or are we going to do away with grades? I want the surgeon or the accountant who got the scores and got the grades, not the surgeon who won the little piece of paper in a hat lottery.

    1. The problem liberals/leftists/loonies will face is that many students admitted by random selection will struggle to succeed, so standards will have to be lowered to allow them to “succeed.” The country will be flooded with doctors, lawyers, teachers and others that cannot read or write, or think for themselves.

    2. How about trying school choice for grade school and high school and lifting disadvantaged students up rather than tearing standards down

    3. “[W]hat happens after these randomized students are admitted into programs that are way, way above their heads?”

      That’s easy. You “modify” the curriculum to satisfy the lowest common denominator, i.e., you dumb down the content — which has been going on for decades.

      “Do they flunk out or are grades now going to be . . .”

      That, too, is easy. You inflate grades, which also has been going on for decades. (The running joke is: “If I can fog a mirror, I get a “B.”)

      On paper, the results look the same as they did, say, 50 years ago: Susie graduated with a 3.8 gpa from Tier 1 University _____. In reality, though, “Susie” is an inarticulate ignoramus with a worthless piece of paper and a $200k debt.

  17. It would be extremely racist to say that blacks and latinos can not perform at the same level as whites and asians. The backers of removing measures ability/preparation from admission processes, implicitly make that claim. If they don’t, they should demand better education/preparation for blacks and latinos.

    1. Would it be racist to say that these demographic groupings have overlapping bell-shaped curves with significant mean-differences?
      I consider such facts to be post-racial, especially the conclusion you can factually draw from overlapping curves: racial identity is NOT a reliable predictor of an INDIVIDUAL’s developed talent or IQ.

    2. Your first sentence is as wrong and ridiculous as saying that whites are as athletic and capable of the same physical performance as blacks (whom ironically achieved that status at least partly by slave owners favoring the more physically gifted for slave work.)

      The mere fact that blacks “slavishly” accept without complaint the Demonkraut party jacking blacks up to 32% of all US abortions (250% higher than their 13% population) seems consistent with their position in the IQ bell curve.

  18. These days even the supposedly intelligent are unfathomably stupid…

  19. That idea stinks. I agree that college admissions is NOT a pure meritocracy as things stand, especially in regards to Ivy League and elite public universities.

    The reform that works best to perfect admissions fairness is a deterministic, objective meritocracy (from the perspective of middle and high school students). Translation: The college publishes a set of readiness criteria to get admitted 5 years in advance, and anyone demonstrating that readiness is accepted. This is what psychologists call a deterministic reward system, known to garner the highest motivation and achievement.

    The question of how “elite” a college wishes to be must be expressed objectively via its readiness criteria, and not left to the corrupt, biased decisions of an Admissions Committee making case-by-case determinations. Also, colleges would have to learn how to serve students under uncertainty about numbers of students enrolled. This is something they could do if they really wanted to.

    Other factors underlying student preparation and ambition (such as a family structure with active, stable fathering) should be left to the informal fabric of cultural norms.

    If we expect to remain competitive with China as THE leading technological/humanistic society, we cannot throw meritocracy and preparation under the bus. It galls me that a Mathematics professor would propose that — maybe she’s being oppo-branded and her random-selection is applied to a pool of adequately-prepared pool of students?

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