Niagara Gazette

Columns

October 26, 2013

HAMILTON: Affirmative action, vouchers and the Supreme Court

Will the United States Supreme Court uphold the ban that Michigan residents voted to impose upon public colleges concerning race-based entrance preferences? 

This is one ultra-conservative liberal who hopes that it doesn’t. Until Michigan residents vote to fix the problem that precipitated what educators deemed the need for these race-based quotas, then the court should not strike down the valiant efforts of Michigan’s higher education administrators, and for good reason.

Ultra-conservative liberal, you ask?

That’s right – because no single political view of anything will always work in any place larger than a New England or bayou-based village; and it certainly won’t work to fix the woes of a state like Michigan.

As Martin Luther King dreamed, I too hope for the end of the need of any affirmative action programs in my lifetime. But Michigan, as with New York state, may require it for a very long time just to pretend that they are fixing the final products of its liberalism; a product that it could easily fix at its front end with the application of a simple conservative program called school vouchers.

Here is Michigan’s, and New York’s, problem. Our primary and secondary inner-city schools are as bad, and Detroit - Michigan’s largest city and school district - is also the largest single population of minorities in the state. In order for many of Michigan’s minority students to enter into some college curriculums, colleges have to either lower their score requirements or to make set-asides for them. 

But if the inner-city school districts were as good as any district in state, then in a mere 13 years, within my lifetime, the product of those schools would be as competitive as is any other group of Michiganders. In such a system, then there would be no need for the tail-end affirmative action program that liberals love and conservatives abhor.

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