The Leadership Conference is working diligently to see that Tom Perez is confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Labor. Perez is an eminently qualified public servant and consensus builder who has dedicated his career to ensuring that all individuals are treated fairly and have the opportunity to succeed. He has served with integrity and distinction at the local, state and national level, compiling an outstanding record of achievement.
Controversial Study Underscores Need for Affirmative Action, Say Critics
Feature Story by civilrights.org staff - 12/7/2004Researchers and educators from around the country are criticizing a controversial study claiming that the number of African American law students would increase without affirmative action programs, and that because of such policies, African Americans attend law schools where they cannot compete and as a result, either drop out or fail to pass the bar.
Critics say the study, "A Systemic Analysis of Affirmative Action" by UCLA Law Professor Richard Sander, in fact, reaffirms the need for affirmative action. Sander's study will be published in the Stanford Law Review Journal next year.
What makes Sander's study controversial, according to critics, is the methodology and analysis used.
"Sander's analysis is flawed. He uses old data from 2001 to support his claims that without affirmative action there would only be a 14% decline in the number of African American law school applicants. If Sander had used new data from 2002 and 2003 there would be a more significant decline of 35-45 % of African American applicants to law school and incidentally, a 25% increase in white admittees," said Frank Wu, dean of Wayne State University Law School.
"Furthermore," continued Wu, "to say that African American students cannot compete is absurd. What is certain is if law schools were to adopt Sander's policies there is little doubt that colleges and universities will become segregated."
Sander's correlation between the LSAT/GPA and bar exam performance has also been called into question. According to the 2001 data Sander uses, LSAT scores and GPA account for less than 10% of the disparity in bar exam results. Yet Sander's study ignores the 90% of the difference that cannot be explained.
A written critique by other Sander critics, Professors David Chambers and Rick Lempert of the University of Michigan School of Law, Timothy Clydesdale, a sociology professor at the College of New Jersey, and Bill Kidder, research associate at the Equal Justice Society, points out that Sander fails to account for factors other than undergraduate grades and LSAT scores to explain the performance of African Americans in law school and on bar exams.
Wu explains that numbers generated by the LSAT and undergraduate GPA's have long been criticized for not acting as sound predictors of law school or bar exam success. "There are other factors that contribute to the success of a student, including their background, life experiences in the communities in which they live, as well as their overall drive to succeed in life," Wu said.
Recent news articles have reported on the significant decline in minority enrollment at major universities due to the elimination of affirmative action policies and high tuition costs.
"This is why diversity admission programs in higher education are so necessary," said Wade Henderson, executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. "Discrimination still exists on the basis of race and gender. It is also clear that Sander's proposals to abandon affirmative action would drain the most competitive law schools of African American students, re-segregate the profession and shut down the pipeline to clerkships, teaching jobs, top-tiered law practice, judicial appointments and influential positions in business and politics," Henderson said.