In Scalia Was Right About Race Preferences in the Wall Street Journal, Jason Riley writes (emphasis added):
During oral arguments in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, a case concerning race-conscious college admission policies, Justice Scalia cited research that shows how racial preferences can handicap some black students by placing them in elite schools where they don’t have the same credentials of the average student and struggle academically.
Liberal public figures and media types promptly denounced the remarks. Democratic leader Harry Reid, ever the statesman, stood on the Senate floor Thursday and accused Justice Scalia of endorsing “racist theories.”
We live in a political environment where the intent of a policy aimed at helping minorities is all that matters; questioning the policy’s actual effectiveness is tantamount to racism. Our national debates about racial preferences tend to focus on their legality, not whether they work as intended. Yet both are important, and Justice Scalia is right to question the assumption that racial favoritism in college admissions has been a boon for blacks.
I’d add that is true of anyone given preferential treatment to be admitted to an elite school, or any school.
Certainly, when thrown into the fire, some people blossom and manage to overcome the ill preparation they received (incidentally often from the same people who advocate lower admission standards).
But, they could also blossom in the a second tier school and earn their way into an elite school.
If the desire is to get more of any group of people into selective schools, maybe the focus should be on properly preparing members of that group to be successful in those schools, rather than lowering the bar for them to get in and hoping they catch up to those who were prepared.
What would happen if pro and college sports teams lowered their standards to accept players of lower ability? Very few, if any, of the new athletes let onto those team would excel to the top. And, nobody would (does) buy tickets to watch adult rec league games.
But, lots of athletes could fulfill their dream of being a pro, for a short time, before the leagues go out of business.