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Affirmative Action in Education, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

Understanding the Foundation of the Application of Affirmative Action in Schools through Time

Historical Background

Social equality is such an elusive dream. It has been an elusive dream ever since the beginning of human history. Relatively, it could be considered that through time, the changing tides of the different situations in history has proven the need for such form of equality to be a timely requirement for the whole society to give attention to. Among the procedures that were deemed necessary to promote the campaign against social inequality is that of the process by which students are to be subjected to a program that reduces racial friction hence creating a more balanced environment for them to learn and develop without the shadows of discrimination within their midst. The application of affirmative action in schools shall be better expounded in the discussion that follows.

Overview of Civil Rights Movement

Brown vs Board of Education, May 17, 1954

The case of students being segregated based on race and color was a hurtful situation that did not only impact the condition of living that the students were subjected to, but also alienated them from the possibility of seeing peace and equality as a remarkable culture that they could develop in learning areas. The separation of the white students from the black ones apparently created several difficulties for both parties. While the black students were taught to “hate” their being black due to the inferiority of the position they gain from the society (Mosley, 1997), the white American students become boastful therefore instantiating a sense of negative superiority that makes them develop uncanny attitudes towards their fellowmen as they grow into maturity. The segregation process was affecting the mentality of the children and how they handle the situation of being different from each other. This is the reason why the Supreme Court ruled unanimously on the matter, imposing that segregation of races in school should be abolished. Under the guidance of Chief Justice Earl Warren, the existence of several civil rights movements have been pushed through to eliminate social segregation in schools hence giving way to the possibility of developing equality in the American society.

  • e Regents of the University of California vs. Bakke –

This instance in the history of California proposed the abolition of unfair admission procedures that are imposed by the University of California at Davis. It affirmed that the rule on racial-based selection for admission of students by the said university was an unprecedented move hence making an indication that the said rule should be duly abolished. Basing from the original program purposes that the university adhered to, they are for the development of a society that is established far from societal discrimination. It is through promoting this culture that the university hopes to produce more physicians in the communities composed of all colors to support the growing healthcare needs of the country. However, through time, this ethical rule has been overshadowed by the desire of some instructors to enroll and teach only the white Americans, setting aside the rights of the black and other colored enrollees. Relatively, this particular situation made the administrators turn their backs on the very mission that their institution has been established upon.

Evolution of Concepts over the years

It was during the year 1961 when President John F. Kennedy first introduced the term “affirmative action”. The primary purpose for the passing of this particular legal condition is to reduce the discrimination that has been serving as a plague towards the American society during the years before the application of the law. Noted as the Executive Order 10925, this law intended to create a common ground of living for both the white, the blacks [and the colored] individuals who reside in the United States. This means that both groups would be able to access what the government provides especially in relation to education, health other basic necessities that the people need for survival. The common ground suggests that all should be fairly treated according to the fact that they are all humans regardless of the color of their skin. Through the years, the application of such rule has created several disagreements between people who support the idea of racial equality and those who do not. From this point, the said concept of equality has been reorganized through time to respond to the current needs of the society with regards the need of establishing a more refined community that is able to withstand pressures of social development alongside the consideration over the notable consequences of inequality among individuals belonging to different races.

Affirmative Action Debate

One’s nation is for one’s people. Basically, what is coined in this passage is that the people who originally belong to a nation are the ones who rightfully own that country. In this case, the local residents ought to be the primary recipients of the benefits that the country’s resources ought to support. Understandably though, there are instances when individuals of different nationalities enter a foreign land, and being submissive to the conditions and principles of globalization, requires the acceptance of the said individuals as part of the recognition of their rights as human individuals living in a modern society (Howell, 2010). Along with the idea of ‘welcoming’ them in one’s country of origin is the need to share with them the resources, the government programs and all the others that serves as the foundation of that country’s backbone. Most often than not, this is what the anti-affirmative action groups are referring to as the basis of their ‘going against’ the concept of the said rule. On the other hand, human rights and the options of living that globalization opens up to are the aspects of modern living that supporters of affirmative action tend to use as defense to the matter.

Motives Behind Affirmative Action

There is nothing more important motive than the idea of promoting peace and equality in the modern society when it comes to the implication of the principles of affirmative action. It is viewed through this motivation that people who are accepted well in a new society even beyond the differences they may have from the original residents of the nation would create positive outcomes for the country’s overall development. For instance, properly treated immigrants would have the capacity to boost up the country’s economy as they are satisfied with the life that they are living in the said foreign nation. The fairness that they feel in relation to that of the need to survive in the said country could be turned into positive conditions of living that would later on bring about remarkable benefits for the nation itself.

The same is true when it comes to the condition of living that the students have to contend with in schools. Students who are able to see themselves in fair condition in parallel with other students would be better able to focus on their lessons, thus creating a much wider opportunity for their personal development as individuals who have the capacity to realize their worth as humans. In return, the balance that they feel as individuals would motivate them to work further and support the nation’s economy towards development (Downing, et al, 2002). The more satisfied the people are, the more motivated they become to work on opportunities opened for them by the government in relation to the capacity they have to develop individually and the possible contribution they could provide the country with.

 Proponents of affirmative action

Does Higher Education need Affirmative Action

When it comes to the condition of learning that students need especially under the bracket of higher education, there is no question that affirmative action is in need to be applied. This is especially true concerning the current condition of society that America is trying to contend with. With the influx of incoming immigrants, it is sure that the universities would be packed with students from all over the globe, hoping to get high quality education as promised by the American government (Johnson, et al, 2009). The question is, would not the local residents of the country receive less, given that the system is giving so much for the others? Would not their needs be neglected because of the attention being given to others? Could the affirmative action be giving so much consideration to minorities that the rights of the original residents of the country are the ones to be neglected? These questions have often been the source of debate when it comes to the application of affirmative action in terms of the aspects concerning education. Nevertheless, the need to support the learning needs even of the minorities is an essential part of pursuing for the growth of the society as a nation that is united towards one particular desire, which is to progress towards modernity and civilization.

Equal Opportunity and Diversity

Education is an opportunity that is offered to young members of the society as their capacity to develop as individuals is further supported by the nation’s administration. Notably, such a desire on the part of the government is a noble part of its legal obligations to the people. Responding to such an obligation renders the government a source of confidence of the people who are relatively establishing a course of personal advancement for themselves as well (Totenberg, 2012). The issue however often instantiates the condition by which the resources of the government dedicated to providing education to the public are rather limited. With such a limited resource, how would the government make sure that each individual hoping to be given proper education and be assisted and benefited through administrational support would be given that attention that he needs? Several programs have already been established to make sure that every student gets what he needs and what he deserves from the nation’s system of education (O’Neil, 2008). Nevertheless, at the end of the evaluation process, it usually appears that the efforts of the government becomes short-lived due to the fact that only a few are supported by the process of assistance that they are able to extend to the people. Given that education is the government’s social responsibility, it is expected that they would allot the right amount of monetary resource to support the growing needs of the said aspect of social structure. However, due to the current condition of the economy, it is often hard to subdivide national financial resources equally to all departments needing attention. Education is only a part of the large scope of responsibilities that the government has to respond to. Understandably, the administrators’ response to the situation would create a great impact on whether or not the field of education would receive a well focused attention or if it should share its limited resources with other government agencies needing serious attention. In this case, the school administrators should find a way to make the current system of financial support work for what their students need (Baez, 2003). Limited as the resources are, the results would be dependent on how the school or university administrators weigh the different needs of the students and how they are going to support them given that they are only given a few.

Current use of minority targeted scholarships

One of the aspects of development that limited resources ought to respond to is the provision of scholarships. Due to limited funding, only the minorities receive targeted scholarships in most universities in the United States. Thinking that the minorities are less able to make as much earnings compared to the white Americans, the government proposes well to support the welfare of those who are less fortunate, the minorities. Considerably, the scholarships that are offered in most schools and universities in the county today target those that belong to the minor groups. Does this leave the white Americans in a position of neglect? While the situation might suggest bias condition of treatment, it is specifically obvious that more opportunities of earning are opened for white Americans compared to those that are offered to the minorities. Given that there are rules and requirements to be completed to serve as proof for the student’s need for support should suffice the need to set the balance between the white Americans and the minorities simply aiming to gain basic education.

Federal Policy

The entrant of the federal force in imposing the different clauses of affirmative action in the field of education often involves overseeing that the programs and policies of schools strictly follow the principles of the said aspect of development (Tanabe, 2009). Considerably, it is essential that when it comes to handling social differences, the government remain neutral, hence helping the people understand as to why more or higher amount of financial support is dedicated to one department than the other. Retaining open communication with the society shall help them understand about the need to comply with the needs of other departments that the government has to support for the better condition of living that the society would be able to embrace.

Conclusion

In line with the definition of the legal clauses of affirmative action, it could be recognized that the need to establish social balance is a certain requirement for well-developed nations such as that of the United States of America. Given that not only black Americans stand as the minority in the country, the administration of the nation need to seek possible approaches that could set the balance on how the needs of the students from all types of races would be given attention to. Making the students realize that they are being supported by the government would of course help in the establishment of a solid nation that is able to withstand the changes of time as modernization becomes the primary driving factor in most societies at present. From this point, it could be analyzed that the application of affirmative action does impose equality among students especially when it comes to the recognition of beneficial provisions they receive from the government.

Sources

Albert Mosley, “Affirmative Action: Pro” in Albert Mosley and Nicholas Capaldi, Affirmative Action: Social Justice or Unfair Preference? (Rowman & Littlefield, 1997), p. 53.

“Affirmative Action: Court Decisions.” Affirmative Action: Court Decisions. National Conference of State Legislatures, Oct. 2012. Web. 10 Nov. 2012. http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/educ/affirmative-action-court-decisions.aspx

Affirmative Action in American Law Schools. (2007, April). Retrieved November 11, 2012, from US Commission on Civil Rights: http://www.usccr.gov/pubs/AALSreport.pdf

Affirmative Action Overview. (2001, July 22). Retrieved November 11, 2012, from National Conference of State Legislation: http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/educ/affirmative-action-overview.aspx
Beauchamp, Tom L. “In Defense of Affirmative Action.” The Journal of Ethics. Springer Press. 2000. 5 Feb 2011.

Unknown. (n.d.). American Association of Affirmative Action. Retrieved November 11, 2012, from Affirmative Action: http://www.affirmativeaction.org/media/AAAA_Generic_Affirmative_Action_Presentation_20090908.pdf

Baez, Benjamin. “Affirmative Action, Diversity, and the Politics of Representation in Higher Education.” The Journal of Higher Education. The Ohio State University. 2003. 19 Feb 2011.

Downing, R., Lubensky, E., Sincharoen, S., Gurin, P. (2002, Winter) Affirmative Action in higher education. Diversity Factor. 10, (21), Pg 1

Equal Opportunity. (2012). Retrieved November 11, 2012, from The Leadership Conference: http://www.civilrights.org/equal-opportunity/

Gurin, P., Lehman, J., & Lewis, E. (2004). Defending Diversity: Affirmative Action at the University of Michigan. The University of Michigan Press.

Howell, J. S. (2010). Assessing the Impact of Eliminating Affirmative Action in Higher Education. Journal of Labor Economics, p.113-166.

Johnson, John W., and Robert P. Green. Affirmative Action (Historical Guides to Controversial Issues in America). Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood/ABC-CLIO, 2009. Print

“U.S. Department of Labor – Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) – Facts on Executive Order 11246 — Affirmative Action.” U.S. Department of Labor. United States Department of Labor, 4 Jan. 2012. Web. 10 Nov. 2012. <http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/aa.htm>.

O’Neil, R. (2008). The Supreme Court, Affirmative Action, and Higher Education. Education Digest, p.14-20.

Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor Jr., Sep 30, 2012 The Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/supreme-court-wants-another-shot-at-affirmative-action/2012/09/30/82cd260e-0b28-11e2-bb5e-492c0d30bff6_story.html

Tanabe, C. S. (2009). From the Courtroom to the Voting Booth: Defending Affirmative Action in Higher Education Admissions. Philosophy of Education Yearbook, p.291-300.

Totenberg, Nina. “Justices Return To Affirmative Action In Higher Ed.” NPR. NPR, 10 Oct. 2012. Web. 10 Nov. 2012. <http://www.npr.org/2012/10/10/162567137/justices-return-to-affirmative-action-in-higher-ed>.

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