Friday, August 10, 2007

Through the Lens of my fellow bloggers...

The topic that has came up most recently that I am quite fascinated about is the Top Ten Percent Law. Through the lens of one of our fellow bloggers, he stated a couple of situations where his friends either were accepted or accepted towards the CAP Program as substitution before getting admission into UT. Man.. I was one of those students in the year 2003 that did not make it to UT, but into the CAP Program... I believe I was 12 percent of my class... unbelieveable! Although I do agree with the author that the Top Ten Percent Rule isn't fair, and I may have a little hatred over it, but there are many pros for this issue.

As an Asian-American as well, I do believe that th effects of direct affirmative action as institutionalized racism against two minority demographics that show a higher percentage enrollment in college than their population would otherwise reflect: South Asians, and East Asians. Asians constitute 2.7% of the Texas population, yet constitute 14.4% of UT students. Foreign students entirely constitute 8.9%, and they don't graduate from a US high schools at all, stated in The University of Texas at Austin Office of Institutional Research website.

On the other hand, I see many pros on this topic. For instance, the Top 10 Percent Rule gives high school students an incentive to do well and strive for excellence. Some students need this rule because they may be very intelligent and a hard worker, but never perform well on standardized tests, such as the SAT. Some students can’t perform well under the timed pressure of tests and they get too distracted by the idea that this one test could determine their future, causing them to possibly do poorly, in which I feel as if I am an example of this. I also think four years of hard work, which is shown by being in the top 10%, is more indicative of hard work than a four hour test, and this rule is a great way for colleges to reward students for their persistence and effort. If the Top 10% Rule wasn’t in effect, a student could go in and score a 1300 on the SAT and get admitted because they are good at test taking but not enough effort throughout their years in high school, while someone in the top 7% of their class with good work ethic could be rejected. Only so many people can be in the top 10%, but there have been instances where a student who doesn’t really care about school will do exceptionally well on standardized tests, and could be admitted, without the achievement of the Top Ten Percent Rule, over those who try hard all four years in high school.

I do agree that we should alter the rule. The law passed to give equal opportunities to those that are not able to qualify for these schools who are taking the opportunities away from people who have worked just as hard. If the law is done away with, students who traditionally wouldn’t be considered for admission would lose the chance to attend these schools. To be considered in the top ten percent rule for any student, they should be involved in school organizations and have taken classes that are challenging to be prepared for college. The government may feel that a CAP Proram is the best way to standardlize the number of students admitted by this law, but I think that having strict guidelines for the rule would give those who applied themselves at poor schools the same opportunities of those who did the same at wealthier schools.

Friday, August 3, 2007

God wins in Texas

I find it pretty interesting that Texas students will have four more words to remember when they return back to school this month and begin reciting the state's pledge of allegiance. In the Houston Chronicle, Legislature had just added the phrase "one state under God" to the pledge, which is part of a required morning ritual in Texas public schools along with the pledge to the U.S. flag and a moment of silence. In the article Barry Lynn stated that, "Most Texans do not need to say this new version of the pledge in order to be either patriotic or religious," executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. "This is the kind of politicking of religion that disturbs many Americans, including those who are deeply religious."
I totally agree. While I don’t care that y’all put God in your Pledge, I DO care that, as reported, students are required "by law" say it....unless they get a note from home. Something about "Congress shall make no law...." comes to mind. For example, if public schools started making your child say "this country is under some deity you didn't believe in", would you object? (Assuming you have a child, of course.) I have older friends that lived in a generation where their public school homeroom class started each school day with a Bible reading. Usually the teacher let those students who wanted to do this pick out what they wanted to read and then read it out loud to the class. Then their homeroom teacher (and at least one other teacher) apparently found out that I they were not Christian. The homeroom teacher then assigned them to read from the Bible. They had a couple of minutes to pick something to read. They had to ask friends what to read. If that were to happen to me today, I would simply tell the teacher I didn't want to do it. There is a lot of peer pressure on a child to conform and not appear different. My friend survived this mild episode, of course, but having the teacher do this to them made it tougher on them to refuse at the time. The teacher was well intentioned, but her action simply steeled them against people who try to impose their beliefs on others.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Burnt Orange Not Black Enough

A University of Texas graduate filed a complaint Friday with the U.S. Department of Education about UT’s use of race in its admission decisions, reports in tuesday’s Austin-American Statesman.

Currently, UT offers admission to all state residents who graduate in the top 10% of their high school classes, as required by state law. Of 13,795 UT freshmen admitted for the upcoming school year, 63% were admitted under the top 10% provision.

The complainant is Anthony Williams, president of the Black Student Alliance at the University of Texas. He told the Austin-American Statesman that he didn’t think the top 10% plan did enough to "overcome the hurdle of achieving diversity among the student body." He also states that "the top 10% does not offer a guarantee that the target student body will be achieved; it only allows a chance for the goal to be approached."

In my opinion, the top 10% doesn't really have anything to do with your race. It's either you have your gpa up in high school or not. According to the report, African-American undergraduate enrollment at UT has increased from 3.5% of the student body in the fall of 1998 when the 10% rule first went into effect to 4.2% in fall of 2006. Hispanic undergraduate enrollment went from 13.9% to 17.1% during that period as well. Asian enrollment increased from 13.7% to 17%. Overall, I feel that the top 10% plan is doing a better job in attracting minorities to UT than race-based affirmative action.

In the article, it states that the U.S. Department of Education has 6 months to investigate the claim. DOE spokesman Jim Bradshaw told the newspaper that if the determination is made that a violation has occurred, it will work with the institution to help it comply with the law.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Education is for everyone

I found this article to be quiete interesting. However, regardless of color, gender or ethnicity, the means for diversified enrollment lies in the awareness and attitudes of the parents/significant adults in the students’ lives. Also poor to middle income students and adult caregivers of any race, receive the message throughout the K-12 years, “Higher education is economically possible, an achievable option for students of any economic means. This help is available to complete the paperwork/enrollment process,” the parents and students in these underrepresented groups will have hope. The adults and students will begin to view themselves as “college bound.” Providing information on saving for college and handing out occassional fliers will only bring out discouragement in parents who are barely getting by financially or can’t read the application in front of them. First, the mentality of hopelessness must be replaced with a vision of nondiscriminatory opportunity.

To read more about this article, check it out here: ">"Hispanic college enrollment up in Texas; participation rate lags."