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Volume 95, Issue 6

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Affirmative action reminds me of a cheap magic act...

Vanishing opportunities act
Affirmative action (“Letters,” June/03) reminds me of a cheap magic act, where the magician makes a flash-bang while he puts the rabbit into the hat. The fact is, affirmative action only benefits the very few people on the cusp of being admitted. The real story is that an entire generation of inner-city and predominantly minority youth are being left behind.

Here’s the political angle: minorities and unions traditionally vote heavily for the Democrats, but the unions clearly come first and it's a clever game. The Democrats push heavily for affirmative action, which may help a few individuals but which may or may not help the group as a whole.

Meanwhile they push heavily for more money for the industrial-education complex, which is really money for unionized teachers. (Motto: A thousand points of spending.) It’s easy to pretend that more money for teachers is the same thing as better education, but it’s not. At the same time, for the benefit of the teachers’ unions the Democrats stomp on every voucher program that comes around, trapping a generation of students in failing schools. But most people only see the few that are pulled up by affirmative action. With labor freely available in China for 30 cents an hour, it’s a bad time for a poor education. This all bodes ill for society.

Stephen M. Obeda, MBA’97
Hillsborough, New Jersey

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