"Isn’t It Ironic? The Central Paradox at the Heart of Percentage Plans"

Michigan Law Authors
Areas of Interest
Publish Date
Ohio State Law Journal
Publication Type
Journal Article

Percentage plans are currently in use in three of our most populous states. These plans are admissions plans that rely on a student’s class rank to determine admission to a state college or university. Such plans have been the subject of much debate and commentary, most of which has centered on the question of whether percentage plans are an adequate substitute for race-conscious affirmative action. But to date, few have focused on a reality that lies at the core of the plans themselves: percentage plans function effectively to diversify higher education only if secondary education remains firmly racially segregated. Percentage plans are a reflection of current day educational apartheid, highlighting the fact that much of our secondary educational system is both racially segregated and profoundly unequal. When a state attempts to construct racial diversity at the college and university level out of racial segregation and inequality at the secondary level, it is obligated to address the educational disparities throughout the system of public education. Policy proposals designed to remedy entrenched harms highlighted at the heart of percentage plans are explored.

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