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Quotas and Preferences imposed by the U.S. Department of Education and its Office of "Civil Rights" -- Are ACT and SAT test scores racist and discriminatory?  Is academic achievement racist?

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U.S. Dept. of Education Quota News

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Are ACT & SAT test scores "racist" and "discriminatory"?

Educators Accept Federal Anti-SAT Bias; Fear Loss of Fed Funds!  (07/16/99)
          College administrators this week appeared to cave in to the Clinton administration's unfounded and unilateral charge that standardized test scores are inherently racially discriminatory.  During a meeting of the prestigious Education Commission of the States, which is very dependent upon federal approval and funding, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that:  "Colleges and universities were urged this week to find an alternative to using standardized tests in admissions, especially in the wake of attacks on affirmative-action policies.  That recommendation from a panel discussion at the Education Commission of the States' national conference in Denver marks the first time a nonpartisan, national body has called for using something other than standardized tests.  However, the discussion didn't offer a clear-cut alternative."

          Note:  The Educational Commission of the States failed to disclose its dependence upon racially-targeted federal funding at this meeting.  The Salt-Lake Tribune also failed to report that the Educational Commission of the States is an IRS tax-exempt organization subject to the whims of the Clinton White House regarding its eligilibity for tax-deductible contributions in order to fund its operations.

          According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Educational Commission President Frank Newman, seeking to preserve the Commission's tax-exempt federal funding, stated that "'The student must be judged on how effective this person is going to be.  ...  Those SAT scores don't tell you everything.' The commission is a nonprofit organization working to develop educational policy.   Representatives from the House Fiscal Agency and the state Department of Education attended the conference."

          It can be strongly inferred that the Educational Commission of the States, since it is an IRS tax exempt organization, subject to Clinton's IRS scrutiny of anti-quota organizations, is strongly motivated to support Clinton's pro-quota, racially-biased, anti-test policies.  This group is therefore very suspect and is therefore in no way an objective participant in the debate regarding the Clinton administration's false "disparate impact" claims regarding standardized academic tests.  (Based on the Salt Lake Tribune story 07/16/99 by Tribune Staff and Wire Reports.)
[link http://www.sltrib.com/1999/jul/07161999/nation_w/8558.htm ]

Test Guidelines Will Coerce Colleges and Cheat Students (07/02/99)
          "The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights is circulating draft guidelines -- which bureaucrats euphemistically call a "resource guide" -- among college and university admissions offices, putting them on notice that relying on standardized tests like the SAT and ACT could land them in legal jeopardy.

          "The officials at the O.C.R. claim that, if certain racial or ethnic groups don't score as well as other groups on a standardized test, you can presume that a college that relies on the test in its admissions process has engaged in illegal discrimination. Never mind that the test itself is neutral on its face. Nor that the college had no intention of keeping anyone out because of skin color, ethnicity, or gender.

          "Welcome to the world of what civil-rights wonks call "disparate-impact theory." In this world, the federal government may find a college or university guilty of civil-rights violations if there are racial, ethnic, or gender imbalances in the student group that it selects for admission, and if some bureaucrat determines that the selection device leading to the imbalances is not "educationally necessary." If the O.C.R. guidelines are adopted, any college that runs afoul of the new policy could lose federal funds and face a heightened risk of lawsuits.

          "The guidelines, called "Nondiscrimination in High-Stakes Testing," are being hailed by pro-preference civil-rights activists, who see them as the latest weapon in the fight to insure that quotas for their preferred minority groups can be maintained in higher education. In fact, as Congress held hearings on the guidelines in June, those groups began mounting a campaign to pressure college and university leaders to support the guidelines. They are afraid that educators will criticize the guidelines for their naked animosity toward intellectual achievement and individual merit."

          (Published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, 07/02/99 issue, by Roger Clegg and Lenore Ostrowsky.  Roger Clegg is general counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity, in Washington. Lenore Ostrowsky is a Washington lawyer whose article on dropouts and standardized testing appears in the spring 1999 issue of Academic Questions.)
[link http://www.chronicle.com/free/v45/i43/43b00801.htm ]

          The College Board has filed a detailed response to the Dept. of Education's so-called "guidelines" regarding "High Stakes Testing".   In diplomatic terms, The College Board found many flaws and legal/constitutional issues with the Dept. of Education's unilateral supposition that SATs and ACTs are racist and impose a disparate impact on certain racial groups.  For the complete text of The College Board's response, see the indicated links, below.
Technical and
Psychometric Issues:

U.S. Dept. of Ed. Imposes Coerced "Diversity" (06/12/99 - dead link)
          (Washington Post Headline:  Coerced Diversity, by Nat Hentoff 06/12/99) -- "The U.S. Department of Education has designed a way to sidestep the growing number of federal court decisions holding that affirmative action -- as intensively pursued by the department -- is unconstitutional.

          "News of this stratagem was first reported in the authoritative weekly the Chronicle of Higher Education: "Colleges would be in legal jeopardy if they use SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) or ACT (American College Testing) scores as the primary basis for admissions and financial aid decisions, according to draft guidelines that the U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights is circulating among college officials."

          "The coercive bureaucratic device to keep in mind is "disparate impact." The department's "Resource Guide: Non-Discrimination in High Stakes Testing" warns:  "The use of any educational test which has a significant disparate impact on members of any particular race, national origin or sex is discriminatory, and a violation of Title VI and/or Title IX . . . unless it is educationally necessary and there is no practicable alternative form of assessment which meets the educational institution's needs and would have less of a disparate impact."

          "A college will have to meet the high burden of proof that it is not discriminating when members of any of these particular groups score poorly on the SAT or the ACT.

          "The U.S. Department of Education -- an ardent advocate of "diversity" -- will be the arbiter of such gossamer terms as "educationally necessary" and a permissible "alternative."  A college failing the department's diversity test will lose federal funds and also will be subject to accusations of racism, sexism and other biases."  (Washington Post Sat., 06/12/99, page A19, by Nat Hentoff)
[former link **http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WPlate/1999-06/12/016l-061299-idx.html]

More on Coerced Diversity:

Dept. of Ed. Tries to Make Racist SAT / ACT Guidelines More Palatable to Educators (06/23/99) (Pay / Subscription Site)
          Leaders of the U.S. Congress grilled the U.S. Education Department's head civil rights official on Tuesday, June 23.   Under heavy fire, she told Congress that her staff would try to improve their PR and spin surrounding the Dept. of Education's blatant assertion that the use of ACT and SAT scores is racist and discriminatory.

          Norma V. Cantú, the Dept. of Education's Assistant Secretary for civil rights, hopes to be able to assuage educators' fears that they will be legally liable for racial discrimination accusations if they continue to use SAT and ACT scores as a basis for admission to colleges and universities.

          The guidelines, which attempt to discourage colleges and universities from using SAT and ACT scores, have justifiably stirred up such a firestorm of criticism that, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, "Rep. Peter Hoekstra, a Republican of Michigan, asked Ms. Cantú to testify before Congress on Tuesday.  Members of the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, which Mr. Hoekstra leads, quizzed her on the guidelines and on the impact of the O.C.R.'s enforcement of gender-equity laws on college sports. ... 'We will make the language clear to conform to existing law -- we are not trying to create new law,' Ms. Cantú responded. 'So to make it clear, Yes, the language will change.'"

          Thus, like any good Clinton quota supporter, Ms. Cantú promised only to change the language, but NOT the intent, of these egregious, race-driven guidelines.  It is also small comfort to those of us who support color-blind laws that Ms. Cantú promised to "conform the language to existing law" since existing "law" is so heavily biased toward government-certified minorities.

          "But Linda Chavez, president of the Center for Equal Opportunity and a long-standing critic of Ms. Cantú, told members of the oversight panel that the draft guidelines represented a backdoor attempt to replace affirmative action and water down high academic standards at colleges and schools." (Based on Chronicle of Higher Education 06/23/99 by Patrick Healy)
[link to pay site: http://www.chronicle.com/daily/99/06/99062301n.htm ]

Quota Supporters Threaten and Cajole Colleges to Support Guidelines Against Use of ACT / SAT Test Scores (06/25/99) (Pay / Subscription Site)
          In the face of a hostile Congress, so-called civil rights groups have been threatening college leaders with racial protests and other negative publicity unless the college leaders support the Department of Education's "guidelines" which stipulate that the use of ACT and SAT scores for college admissions is racist and discriminatory. 

          With anti-quota, pro-color-blind Congressional leaders attacking these alleged "guidelines", the civil-rights groups (Jackson, Mfume, et al) have enlisted one of Clinton's most vocal pro-quota mouthpieces, Harvard's Christopher Edley, Jr.  Edley advises Mr. Clinton on pro-quota issues, and Edley uses the mantle of his Harvard professorship to add legitimacy to his one-sided proclamations favoring racial quotas and preferences.

          Clinton and his allies in Congress hope that Edley's veneer of academic objectivity will help persuade college officials to acquiesce on the Dept. of Ed's "guidelines".  Failing "friendly persuasion", Edley has engaged in a shameless campaign of intimidation and threats against college administrators who oppose dropping the use of SAT and ACT scores. 

          The beauty of using Edley and Harvard to do Clinton's dirty work is clear:  neither the White House or Congressional Democrats will be tainted with accusations of intimidation if Edley's efforts turn sour.

          At the behest of Congressional and White House pro-quota forces, Harvard's Christopher Edley has sent a threatening letter to the American Council of Education and to the Educational Testing Service which strongly implies that these organizations will be subjected to minority protests and other negative publicity tactics unless they toe the line and support the DOE "guidelines".   According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, Edley's letter, addressed to Stanley O. Ikenberry of the American Council on Education, and to Nancy Cole, president of the Educational Testing Service, said, in part "Let me be clear: Several key people in the civil rights community are deeply concerned about rumored activities and views of ACE, ETS and some of your compatriots." (based on Chronicle of Higher Education 06/25/99 by Patrick Healy)
[link to pay site:  http://www.chronicle.com/weekly/v45/i42/42a04201.htm ]

Civil-Rights Panelists Show Support for Draft Guidelines on Standardized Tests (06/21/99) Restricted / Pay Site
          "Members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights came down strongly Friday in favor of draft federal guidelines on the use of standardized tests, an effort that worries many college leaders who rely on SAT and ACT scores.  [The guidelines] are being prepared by the U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights for release in the fall.

          "The commission -- a fact-finding agency that reports to the President and Congress on discrimination issues -- used its monthly meeting to discuss whether the guidelines represented an attack on tests or posed a risk to colleges and schools, as some educators and critics of affirmative action contend.

          "Some see the guidelines as a backhanded attempt to give special help to minority students, who have lower average scores on the SAT than white students.

          "The civil-rights commission meeting was a kind of prelude to a Congressional hearing, scheduled for Tuesday, at which a Republican-led panel is expected to grill O.C.R. officials about the draft guidelines. Indeed, some commissioners almost seemed to be giving pointers to the O.C.R. on how to deflect criticism at the Tuesday hearing."  (Chronicle of Higher Education, 06/21/99 - Restricted / Pay Site)
[link http://www.chronicle.com/daily/99/06/99062101n.htm ]

Conservatives Say Pamphlet On Testing Goes Too Far (06/12/99)
          (NY Times) "The U.S. Department of Education has created a novel policy to close the racial performance gap on the Scholastic Assessment Test and the American College Testing exams: make it illegal for colleges to use the results if minority students perform below white students," wrote Edward Blum and Marc Levin, two opponents of affirmative action in a recent column published in The Wall Street Journal. The article was headlined, "Washington's War on Standardized Tests."  (New York Times 06/12/99 by Steven A. Homes)
[link http://www.nytimes.com/library/national/061299testing-edu.html ]

Pro-Test Candidate (Gov. Bush) (05/28/99)
          "As the Department of Education launches a new assault on colleges that use standardized tests such as the SAT in the admissions process, conservatives may find that they have a powerful ally: Gov. George W. Bush.

          "Some say it is racist to test. I strongly say it is racist not to test because by not testing we don't know and by not knowing we are just moving children through the system," says Bush, referring to K-12 testing, in Friday's New York Times."  (National Review 05/28/99)
[link http://www.nationalreview.com/daily/nr060199.html ]

Testing, the Easy Target, by Abigail Thernstrom (NY Times 06/10/99)
          LEXINGTON, Mass. -- "In case you missed it, the Federal Department of Education may have signaled the end of standardized testing, from college boards to elementary school assessments. This certainly seems the intent of guidelines issued last month by the department's Office of Civil Rights warning of the potentially discriminatory impact of "high-stakes testing." If the guidelines are approved, it will be hard to justify using tests to sort students at any age for any purpose.

          "Here's the problem: At the moment, standardized tests have a disparate racial and ethnic impact. White and Asian students score, on average, markedly higher than their black and Hispanic peers. This is true for fourth-grade tests, college entrance exams and every other assessment on the books. If a racial gap is evidence of discrimination, then ALL tests discriminate."
[no link]

Ed. Sec. Riley: Clinton promotes reverse discrimination in education (05/17/99 - dead link)
          WASHINGTON (AP) — "The Clinton administration will propose that school districts receiving federal funds for "poor" [mostly minority] students must ensure all their schools have the same class-size ratios, qualified teaching staff, course offerings and facilities, Education Secretary Richard W. Riley said Monday.

          "In a speech delivered on the 45th anniversary of a landmark school desegregation ruling, Riley said the plan — among others to be announced Wednesday — will narrow gaps between the rich [presumably white] and poor [presumably minority] students.

          "The proposals would impact the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, a 34-year-old comprehensive law that governs most federal education programs for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Congress is expected to renew the act later this year.

          Education Secretary Riley said "It is incumbent upon us to build upon the legacy of Brown,'' referring to the 1954 Supreme Court ruling in Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kan.  The ruling ended deliberate racial division of the nation's schools. [Editor’s Note: Brown is widely regarded by the judiciary -- from district courts all the way up to the Supreme Court -- as no longer legally relevant or applicable to educational institutions in the 1990’s.]

          "On Monday, anniversary commemorations included Riley's speech at the Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives in Washington, and the White House launch of "Winning Together: Don't Erase the Progress,'' a civil rights campaign to bolster [reverse discrimination-oriented, racial quota] programs on college campuses.

          "Although schools with high poverty and minority student populations had made some strides, those schools also offer fewer classes that help prepare its students for college, Riley said."   (Associated Press, via FoxNews, 05/17/99, by Anjetta Mcqueen)
[former link **http://www.foxnews.com/js_index.sml?content=/news/national/0517/d_ap_0517_129.sml]

Dept. of Ed. Office of Civil Rights Investigating Monroe, SC Schools (03/15/99)
          MONROE - "The city last year commissioned the Masonboro Report, which faulted the school system for not doing enough to help students and faculty at several lower-income schools in Monroe, Wingate and Marshville [South Carolina].  The school system rejected most of the report's findings, saying research methods in the study were faulty and test scores at low-income schools were on the rise.

          According to the report "The system's 33 schools vary widely in their percentages of low-income and minority enrollments, with low-income enrollments, for example, ranging from more than 80 percent at some schools to less than 4 percent."

          "Three months later, the mayors of Monroe, Wingate and Marshville -- as well as a group of parents -- filed complaints with the Office of Civil Rights. The complaint included allegations that too few African American students were in honors courses, too many were in special education classes, and a disproportionate number are severely disciplined. 

          "School officials have declined to comment on the specifics of the complaint, but they have said in the past that their policies are not discriminatory.

          "The U.S. Office of Civil Rights will hold a public meeting in Monroe on Wednesday to discuss allegations of racial discrimination in the school district."  Roger Murphy, a spokesman for the Dept. of Education’s Office of Civil Rights said 'The complaint is complicated and covers a lot of ground.'

          School officials were unable to comment on the meeting because the Dept. of Education had not bothered to inform them of the meeting.

          "The federal office scheduled the meeting as part of its investigation into a complaint filed by three Union County mayors last August, which alleges that school system policies contribute to low student test scores, discipline troubles and teacher morale problems in low income schools."

          Investigators were scheduled to arrive in Monroe earlier this week "and will spend the week gathering information, inspecting records and interviewing, Murphy said. He expects the office will complete its investigation by summer. If investigators find fault with the school system, they can order changes ranging from policy revisions to new school attendance zones."  (The Charlotte Observer, 03/15/99, by Michelle Crouch)
[former link **http://www.charlotte.com/observer/local/pub/037658.htm]

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*  We use the term reverse discrimination reluctantly and only because it is so widely understood.  In our opinion there really is only one kind of discrimination.