If adopted, this plan will have far-reaching impact. In the academic world, as California goes, so goes the nation. The diversity crowd has long sought to eliminate standardized testing as an important factor in college admissions because blacks and Hispanics, on average, do worse than whites and Asians on standardized tests. But the problem is standardized tests are the most objective way to measure students' academic qualifications against each other.
SAT scores are not intended to predict how well a person will do in life generally, but they do predict college grades. Students with low SAT scores usually struggle in college and many drop out, especially if they are put in situations where they are competing with higher-scoring students. One of the lessons of the ban on racial preferences is that black and Hispanic students are actually more likely to graduate now that they are attending campuses where their grades and test scores are the same as their peers.
The irony is that the diversity crowd pushing these changes may end up harming the very students they want to help. What good does it do to admit ill-prepared students who then don't graduate? The real problem for many black and Hispanic applicants is that their skills don't measure up -- but getting rid of the tests only sweeps the evidence under the rug.
Dumbing down requirements for admission to the nation's best higher education system helps no one. Worse, it may start a tidal wave to sweep away objective standards in college admissions -- and that would be a disaster for the country as well as higher education. The United States has the finest universities in the world. But if we begin to erode excellence by eliminating objective standards for admission, we'll pay for it by destroying the meritocratic system that has served us so well.
Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .
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