Science & Tech

Studies challenge claims that percent plans provide viable alternative to affirmative action

1 min read

Two reports look at experiences of Florida, Texas, and California

Although the Texas, California and Florida plans appear to be very similar, in fact they differ greatly. There are key distinctions that must be noted when considering their implementation and effectiveness. Current public discussion of percent plans seems to suggest that simply designating a percent of each high school class entitled to public university admission results in diverse college campuses. Each of the states has had deeply unequal educational K-12 outcomes by race and ethnicity, and serious increases in racial isolation in high schools, according to the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University. The public higher education systems as a whole and the premier institutions in Texas, California, and Florida, more specifically, range dramatically in their selectivity and national prominence. The story of whether percent plans are effective is complex. These percent plans have been presented as major alternatives to race-conscious affirmative action. Research from the Civil Rights Project shows that they, in themselves, have very modest effects at best and do not lead to the level of diversity reflective of the students they are intended to serve.