Monday, September 12, 2011

Right Wing Think Tank Targets UW-Madison

Tomorrow the so-called Center for Equal Opportunity, a right-wing think tank headed by Linda Chavez and based in Sterling, Virginia will begin an assault on UW-Madison. The Center charges that the university seeks to advance racial equality by exercising preferences in admissions practices.

As you consider the "case" the Center will lay out-- the "study" will be released tomorrow and then we will all see the "facts"-- please note the following:

This "CEO" (I refuse to call them the CEO in all seriousness..) has a long and sordid track record. UW-Madison is one in a long line-- a line at least 60 colleges and universities long-- targeted by this group. It supports what it describes as "colorblind public policies," including the elimination or curtailment of existing racial preference and affirmative action programs, the replacement of bilingual and ESL programs with English immersion, and the adoption of policies that both welcome increased immigration while calling for the assimilation of new immigrants to the United States.

The facts are not in CEO's favor. Forget the evidence on whether preferences are being exercised--they are beside the point. At issue is how we help all students succeed. Despite claims that helping students with more modest test scores gain access to elite institutions puts them at a disadvantage--the so-called mismatch hypothesis--numerous rigorous empirical studies find exactly the opposite. I will cover them on this blog soon.

Moreover, despite claims of being post-racial, this think tank is advancing an agenda that is decidedly racial. Pushing for assimilation of new immigrants? Seriously, what century are you from?

UW Madison is replete with scholars of education and inequality who can shed light on these important concerns. I hope the community, and the media, will go searching for real, hard facts, rather than listening to ideologues.

I will write more about this soon.

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