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    By Greg Aprahamian

    Record shattering UC application rates, caused by the elimination of SAT and ACT standardized  tests scores used for UC admissions applications  has caused an equally dramatic rejection rate for graduating California highschool seniors applying to UC schools.  Shortly after the UC regents announced their decision  making the SAT/ACT  optional  for freshman applications.

    Alameda Superior Court judge Brad Seligman issued a preliminary injunction banning SAT /ACT scores used in University of California applications.  Reasons cited for the elimination of the SAT center around privileged non disabled student advantages, structural racism and greater need for equity.

    The great question in this new era of record shattering UC applications is how will the California public university system evaluate applications of prospective students in a time when the absence of standardized testing has caused the application rate to skyrocket.

    To understand this new dynamic I highly recommend  you read this LA Times article, (aptly titled:  “UC Explains Admissions Decisions  In a Record Application Year”.

    What I find important  about this article is UC leaders explaining in their own words how they are now selecting incoming students.  Their choice of words used to describe the criteria they are evaluating is coded, but it is telling.

    Instead of a standardized test that evaluates the academic knowledge of all applicants, the new system replaces the standardized test with a type of class ranking system.  One where the top performers of each individual high school gain admittance.  In the linked LA Times article it states;

    “UC admissions directors stressed that they evaluated students in their own schools and communities to assess how much they challenged themselves and took advantage of available opportunities”.

     

    “A campus might admit a student with a 4.0 GPA who ranked at the top of an underserved school over one with a higher GPA but lower class rank at a more high achieving school”.

    “The thing I take the most pride in with the UC is that it’s all about achievement within context” – UC Santa Cruz Assoc. Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management  Michelle Whittingham

    The “context”  the vice Chancellor is talking about is comparing the graduating students within their individual high school and not comparing them with students from other high schools.

    Who gets the advantage in this new system?   

    The top  performing students of a lower achieving school, and schools with a small student body.

    Many if not the majority of LAUSD and inner city high schools throughout California have extremely low performing schools and high dropout rates.  To combat the huge problem of failing students, LAUSD and many failing school districts throughout California have initiated no fail policies.

    Large California school districts eliminate ‘D’ and ‘F’ grades

    Small schools, and schools with small graduating classes also have an advantage in this new system, because their graduating seniors have less students to compete with in their class.

    Who Gets the Disadvantage in this system?

    Graduating seniors in a good to high performing school, and students from a traditional large public high school.

    In a highly functional and high achieving  high school, where a large portion of its student body wants to attend college after graduation,  it will be tremendously harder for students to rank at the peak of their graduating class compared to a school that does not perform well.  A student at a traditional large public high school also is disadvantaged compared to a student from a smaller school, because they have more graduating seniors to compete with in class rank.

    Inner City High Schools VS. Suburban: Who has the advantage?

    On average in California, inner city students now have an advantage in placement because it’s a lot harder to be top ranking in a higher performing suburban high school.

    Pits Classmates against one another  vs. competing with oneself  

    As The public gains more knowledge of this class ranking system needed to gain entry into CA universities, the students and parents within each prospective high school might  gradually see each other as competitors for scarce resources.  This dynamic pits classmates against one another and can change how students view one another.  Class rank was never really viewed as all that important,  that dynamic has now changed in California.

    Illegal Alien Advantage VS. American

    California has one of the highest populations of illegal immigrants in the country, and CA offers in-state tuition, and taxpayer paid financial aid to illegal aliens.  This system gives a big advantage to these foreign nationals over the needs of American students and also gives a big financial advantage to the illegal alien students because it is doubtful that the illegal alien fully declares all their earned income when applying for financial aid, whereas the parents of American students have to declare all their income with the school and the IRS.  In an era of extremely scarce spots to attend a California university, shouldn’t we show loyalty and protect the American students vs. the illegal foreign national that has no right to work in the USA?

    Equity does not mean equality

    Everywhere you turn to read about the motives behind the elimination of standardized tests in California university admissions it all revolves around “equity”.  This change in admissions is “equity” in action.  Equity has been the hottest word in public school policy for more than several years.  Despite the coded vocabulary of the proponents of equity and policy makers, we can now see the policy of equity is to push certain students down to make way and give special advantages to other students.

    Majors matter

    The most popular and in demand majors get the most applications, therefore highest in demand majors have the most competition to gain admittance.

    Charter School advantage

    Reports have already started to surface that lower performing charter schools are already reaping the admittance benefits of increased UC admissions caused by smaller graduating class sizes and if the charter school is lower scoring in CAASP testing that makes it easier to have a higher class rank.  Many charter schools offer self paced learning which allows for higher performing students to advance at their own rate.  Some Charter schools could really prosper in demand because of this now highly desirable combination.

    Rural advantage and homeschool advantage?

    I am not sure how the new system of emphasis on class rank and no standardized testing (SAT and ACT) will affect placement from home schooled students and students from rural high schools, but  If there is a smaller graduating class in a rural area, then it seems that equals less competition to become higher in class ranking.  If this situation manifests, this could lead to higher desirability of rural school districts.  It is equally unclear to me how homeschooled students will be impacted by the new system emphasizing class rank, but doesn’t a graduating class of one makes home schooled students automatic class valedictorian?

    UCLA admits to using class rank for admissions to achieve the goals of affirmative action, even though affirmative action in admissions is illegal in California public universities

    The UC board of regents lobbied heavily to reinstate affirmative action in California universities.  The voters of CA didn’t approve of Prop 16,(which if passed would of reinstated affirmative action in public university admissions)   so the UC Regents came up with a different way by crafting a system that gives advantages to inner city high school students that are mainly Hispanic and or Black, and purposely negatively affect  White and Asian students in Suburban highschools.  In an article published by UCLA discussing the UC’s disappointment of the failure to reinstate affirmative action in California,   Darnell Hunt,  Dean of UCLA’s social sciences is quoted discussing how UCLA uses the new class rank system as a way to achieve the goals of affirmative action in admissions, even though the goals and methods of affirmative action are illegal in California:   “The rejection of Prop. 16 means that California’s public universities will continue to have only limited tools for correcting a tilted playing field that has traditionally led to the underrepresentation of Latino and Black students on campus,” Hunt said. “One such tool currently in use — holistic review — considers students’ achievement in the context of how well they make use of the opportunities available to them in their high schools”.

    If the goals and methods of affirmative action for admissions to California universities are illegal, why then are the UC regents allowed to craft policies that achieve the goals and end results of affirmative action?  

    Notice also that UCLA is also quite open about why the UC’s changed the admissions policies and thumb their noses at the California voters that overwhelmingly rejected Prop 16.

    Possible Ways to Game The New System

    Now I’m not recommending this, but since the UC regents are gaming the system by punishing some to give what they consider equity to others, perhaps those who now become disadvantaged under the new class rank system should also game the system.  Perhaps some parents should pull students out of their high achieving high school their senior year and place them in a lower or  extremely low performing high school, coupled with some community college courses, and boom, instant  high class rank.  Sucks for the students already in the school, (but that leads me back to my point about pitting classmates against one another).  Most parents won’t be this aggressive, but I have no doubt that there will be many, especially in overpopulated cities in California that will look at the situation logically and simply do what it takes.   This could also be a great investment opportunity as real estate in nice areas with mediocre performing high schools might gain in desirability, In other words get a better house for a lower price and a University advantage for your children all at the same time.

    The Comment Section

    A commenter in the linked LA times article claiming to be a UC external application reader, contradicts UC claims that the schools applications reviewers are prevented from seeing the name, race, ethnicity and gender of applicants.  The commenter mentions that this is only partially true.  Reviewers can see the applicants name and from that they can judge ethnicity and gender of the applicant as well as extra curricular activities such as Black Student Union, Hispanic Honor Society, Etc.  They also note” that there is a vast difference between earning an A at a school like Brentwood School and an A at a public Title 1 school.

    Repercussions:

    Most suburban California high school students will now have to find alternatives to UC schools.  Community colleges, private schools, out of state schools and lower tiered state schools will be among the choices for a huge herd of high performing students.  Many of these schools will reap the benefits of higher performing students and the quality of their student body will increase.  The quality of UC schools may also decline if the new class rank system admits substantial amounts of less developed students vs. the traditional system of selecting from standardized test scores.

    Debt loads of working and middle class Californians will increase to pay for private schools and out of state schools that don’t offer in-state tuition.  Once California high school students leave for out of state schools, will they come back to California?   Will this incentivize parents to also leave California once the kids leave?  Perhaps the higher debts incurred on the middle and working class and pushing middle class Californians out is all part of the woke, social engineering plan of the California governing elite?

    SOURCE


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