Sunday, May 27, 2007

Crash and Burn: Shapiro’s SB 101 Turned Away

When the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Texas’ affirmative action law in regard to admission to its premier state university (and awarding the complainants, a dollar each, as I recall), the Texas legislature responded and adopted “the 10% rule”. The rule guaranteed admission to these premier schools, of the top 10% of each graduating class of every high school in the Texas public schools system.

It was eminently fair. It leveled the playing field. Rural schools with fewer resources had just as much chance of having their top 10% high school graduates admitted to Texas' premier universities as urban elite schools.

Florence Shapiro, for some reason, decided to cut that number in half. Why? It became clear that as student populations increased and classroom capacity did not increase, that those lower performing students were being sent elsewhere. That is, a student in the 11th percentile at an elite school where the competition was fierce, was being turned away in favor of a student from a more rural school with lower competition for the top ten percent. Students "legacies" (children of UT graduates), students with sports scholarships most certainly had difficulty finding admission.

So Florence Shapiro’s SB 101 sought to cap the top 10% to 50 percent of those within the top 10% (she later upped it to 60%).

The problem was that classrooms were full. Enrollment did not allow anyone but to 10 percenters to enter Texas’ top universities.

Shapiro’s bill sought to solve the problem by stemming the flow of students. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Shapiro should instead have filed a bill to provide additional funds to hire additional professors to teach additional classes that takes advantage of the fact that classrooms can be occupied during evening hours as well as daylight hours.

Accommodating all of these students.

But what I am thinking is that Shapiro had no desire to keep the playing field level. She wanted to throw enrollment open to less deserving lower ability children of moneyed parents.

No, Florence, we have a solution already in place there, as well.

It's called Baylor University.

The bill failed after emotional speeches by one pro-education member after another.

Yea: 69 Nay: 75

Well done members.

1 comment:

Montag said...

That would be like having some people in a lifeboat with very little food and instead of rationing the food, throwing people out of the boat to reduce demand--thus allowing more food for the stronger survivors.