Constantly, I find myself unable to intellectually grasp the reasons why affirmative action is not wholly supported by society and our government. The same government that used its constitution to prevent minorities from getting educated, ensured them that equal housing and work could not be attained.
Then, hundreds of years later, the government says, “Oops! Our bad, no more barriers, go forth and be equal, even though you are starting from a point well behind the original makers of the law and we have provided lots of additional weights to carry – the government will play no part in rectifying the inequalities that it was used to impose. Good luck!”
It is quite apparent that getting a 4.0 GPA at Andover High School in Bloomfield Hills is much better than getting a 4.0 GPA at Kettering High School in Detroit. In fact, the University admissions policy actually adds or removes points based on the quality of the school. Additionally, Andover High School’s ACT average is 25.0, which leaps over the national average of 21.2; in contrast, in 2002, Kettering High School’s ACT average was 14 points. Given that Kettering High School offers curriculum like cosmetology, culinary arts and manicuring entrepreneurships, it is painfully apparent that some Detroit high schools are preparing youth (which consist nearly all of blacks) for blue-collar employment and not for higher education.
The first reaction for many is to pour money into Detroit’s school system, but how much can you dump in to sate the disparity? Bloomfield Hills spends $11,775 per student where Detroit spends $1,076, Bloomfield Hills has 18 schools and Detroit has 214 – all whose buildings have an average building date of 1937. If Detroit’s yearly budget of $953,201,624 of taxpayer’s money isn’t doing the job, is the working class of Michigan willing to pay double, or even triple their current taxes to fix the school system?
It just isn’t feasible to siphon the incredible amount of money needed to make the Detroit Public Schools a competitive driving force at this time. While the Detroit schools have made steps in improving education, especially within Renaissance High School, whose mean ACT score has improved four points since 1997, there is a lot of work to be done with the rest of the 213 schools. Even if a miracle happened and $3 billion was dropped in the hands of the Detroit School policy makers, it would decades to modernize hundreds of old and dilapidated buildings.
In its current state, affirmative action band-aids a wound that is healing at a rate that is near glacial. If the band-aid is taken away, given that Detroit’s test scores and school quality are enormously below suburban districts, students in urban areas will simply be fazed out of higher education. I am confident that there will be a time when education is equal and affirmative action won’t be necessary, but unfortunately, it hasn’t come yet.
Stephens is an RC sophomore.