SCA5 withdrawn, task force called for to address affirmative action | #edu4all

California State Senator, Leland Yee, who has now clarified his position in support of repealing Prop 209. (Photo credit: IB Times)
California State Senator, Leland Yee, who has now clarified his position in support of repealing Prop 209. (Photo credit: IB Times)

Following Speaker Perez’s halting of SCA5 — a bill that would repeal Prop 209 for institutions of public education in California — from advancement yesterday, SCA5 author State Senator Ed Hernandez has withdrawn the bill, saying that he will examine possible amendments.

Although considering SCA5 did nothing but strike two words — “public education” — from the state constitution, I’m not entirely sure what those amendments might be.

More substantively, Hernandez has vowed to start a state-wide task force to address the issue of affirmative action in higher education, and to combat the profound untruths and misinformation that has characterized the debate over SCA5 in the last few weeks.

Hernandez said he wants to get more positive information out to the public and to dispel what he calls misinformation about SCA 5. To do that, he said he will create a commission of elected officials; experts in constitutional law; community leaders from different ethnic groups; students; parents; and representatives from the UCs, CSUs and community colleges.

The point, he said, is to address concerns opponents have, which might mean amending or even rewriting the proposal.

This turn of events is a positive one, and should provide California voters the tools they need to have the complex, nuanced, and fact-based conversation that the issue of affirmative action deserves. Further, it will permit a conversation that reflects all positions on the topic — particularly, the diverse positions that can be found even within the Asian American community alone.

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The effect of Prop 209 on UC admissions and campus diversity | #edu4all #NoLiesNoHate #SCA5


If you’ve been following my blog over the past week, you’ve seen my writing on SCA5, Senate Constitutional Amendment 5 being advanced in California to attempt to repeal Proposition 209, which passed in the mid 90’s and took effect in 1998 on the UC admissions process.

There continues to be a lot of numbers flying around, and a lot of is being interpreted really bizarrely. The most significant problem with the numbers being quoted back and forth is that most are citing on-campus student demographics as either whole numbers or as fractions of state population. These numbers either completely ignore changes in overall population size (and thus applicant pool size), or are using Census data as proxies for that number.

Yet, the most appropriate numbers to use isn’t enrollment data, or state-wide population numbers: it is admission and application data from the UC school system. Enrollment data is complicated by the additional factor of student choice — which can be influenced by things like scholarship availablity, geographic locale, and major offerings — so it’s largely irrelevant to the debate of affirmative action in college admissions. State-wide population numbers fail to fully address the fact that in regards to college admissions, changes in population size are only relevant insofar as they produce an increase in applicant number.

So, again, to set the record straight, here is the impact of Proposition 209 on UC admissions and campus diversity. All numbers were crunched from this report, which was released by the UC office of the president (UCOP).

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Why I support affirmative action: An open letter to Chinese America | #NoLiesNoHate #edu4all

affirmative action signs

Dear Chinese America,

I love you more then you’ve ever really understood. When people ask me who I am, I proudly say I am Chinese American. And, while I may not be that great at being Chinese American — I don’t speak Mandarin very well, my Cantonese is worse, and yes technically I am Chinese Canadian — you’ll tease me for it, but you’ve never truly held it against me.

My whole life, I’ve associated you with honour; with respect; with dignity; with discipline; with intelligence; and above all, with love: love for one’s parents, one’s children, one’s elders, one’s friends, one’s community.

And that’s why I’m so disappointed right now. That’s why I just don’t understand why you’re saying the stuff you’re saying.

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List of #AAPI Groups & Posts in Support of Affirmative Action and #SCA5 | #NoLiesNoHate #edu4all

Photo credit: AALDEF
Photo credit: AALDEF via Angry Asian Man

Despite the prevailing narrative that Asian Americans are overwhelmingly against affirmative action and SCA5, a bill that would if passed repeal elements of Proposition 209 for public education, this narrative is far from true. It turns out that there is a large, but underreported, population of AAPIs who stand in support of affirmative action and SCA5. In the National Asian American Survey (NAAS), 70% of Asian Americans and 65% of Pacific Islander Americans supportive affirmative action programs. So where are we in the mainstream coverage of SCA5? Are our voices being drowned out by the vehement, and occasionally misinformed, anti-SCA5 rhetoric?

This post is an ongoing list of Asian American/Pacific Islander groups that have issued statements in support of affirmative action and SCA5, as well as an ongoing list of blog posts and op-eds that support this measure. Since the pro-SCA5 efforts have just started mobilizing, this post will continue to be updated with more information.

If your group has come out in favour of affirmative action in general, and/or SCA5 in particular, please leave a comment or tweet me (@Reappropriate) to add your group to this list.

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Top 5 anti-Affirmative Action Myths About SCA5 | #NoLiesNoHate

Photo credit: USA Today
Photo credit: USA Today

Nearly twenty years ago, California voters passed Proposition 209, a ballot measure that effectively outlawed affirmative action in state-run institutions. Among other effects of Prop 209 was the loss of affirmative action policies — the ability for college admissions officers from being able to consider race among other application criteria — in the state-wide UC college system.

Prop 209 has had a devastating effect on UC schools: Black, Latino, Native American, Southeast Asian American and Pacific Islander admission rates have dropped precipitously relative to the pace of their population growth over the last twenty years, resulting in a public, taxpayer-funded university system that has effectively excluded many of the state’s underrepresented minority community — roughly 45% of the state’s total population — from access to quality secondary education.

Currently, the California House and Senate are considering Senate Constitutional Amendment 5 (SCA5), a bill that would create an exemption for public education from Prop 209, re-empowering the UC system to once again employ reasonable affirmative action policies in their admissions process. Should SCA5 pass the California Senate later this year, it will be put on the November ballot for public consideration. Passage of SCA5 is a necessary first step to restore access and equality for California’s underrepresented minorities to a college education.

Unfortunately, although 61% of Asian American voters in California voted against Proposition 209 in 1996 to protect affirmative action, recent efforts by conservative Asian Americans — predominantly Chinese American non-profits and news outlets — have resulted in a widespread campaign of misinformation and outright fear over SCA5 in many Asian American voters.

To set the record straight, here are the top 5 myths — and facts — about SCA5, and why you should support it.

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