As you know, the 2003 ruling in the Michigan State case Gratz v. Bollinger reaffirmed the rights of colleges to consider race in admissions. Recently, the Supreme Court agreed to take up the Fisher v. Texas University case raising the question of affirmative action once again (“Court takes another,” 2012
; Jaschik , 2012
). Only after Fisher v. Texas University was rejected by a federal district court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, did “the American Council on Education file a brief with the Fifth Circuit urging the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the Texas case” (Jaschik , 2012).
The Michigan State 2003 case differs from Fisher v. Texas University in that the “Top 10%” scholarship in Texas is being scrutinized. The scholarship plan takes the top 10 percent of students in high school classes and automatically admits them to the public college of their choice (“Top 10 percent scholarship,” 2009). Some would argue that “Top 10%” encourages high achieving and competive students to consider going to college, while others see the plan as a tactic to pipeline minority students into certain “flagship” state public institutions. In fact, some districts in Texas have majority minority students, therefore ensuring that the top 10% from various schools will enroll increasing geographic and ethnic diversity among colleges.
According to the U.S. Constitution the Tenth Amendment “reserves all powers not delegated to the central government to the States,” therefore Texas is entitled to implementing “Top 10%” (Mumper, Gladieux, King & Corrigan, 2011, 114). The critical arguement against Texas University is whether the University of Texas exceeds “the right granted by [Michigan State] in 2003” by coupling race-based admissions criteria with the “Top 10%” scholarship (Jaschik , 2012). Fisher would argue that she was denied admission because she was a caucasian, despite that fact that she scored above the average profile of admitted students.
Fisher v. the University of Texas is making headlines in education and could change the criteria that public institutions use to admit students. As a college admissions counselor and pre-service teacher, I would argue that rather than eliminating affirmative action, the state of Texas should rethink the way that the “Top 10%” scholarship effects college admissions. I’m also interested in how many other states have adopted similar legislation to that of Texas’ “Top 10%,” because the effect of “Top 10%” on Texas will be the baseline for future states. The law has been enacted since 1997, but was revised as recently as 2009, when the Texas House as part of the 81st Regular Session limitedt the number of students admitted under the 10% rule as requested by UT-Austin.
(2009). Trivia tidbit of the day: Part 547 — the university of texas’ top 10% rule.. (2009). [Print Photo]. Retrieved from http://www.willisms.com/archives/2009/03/trivia_tidbit_o_550.html
Court takes another look at affirmative action. (2012, February 24). NPR. [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=147348295&m=147348288
College for all texans: Top 10% scholarship program. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.collegefortexans.com/apps/financialaid/tofa2.cfm?ID=385
Jaschik , S. (2012, February 21). Inside higher ed. Affirmative Action on the Docket, Retrieved from http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/02/21/supreme-court-takes-affirmative-action-case
Mumper, M., Gladieux, L. E., King, J. E., & Corrigan, M. E. (2011). The federal government and higher education. In P. Altbach, P. Gumport & R. Berdahl (Eds.), American Higher Educational in the Twnty-First Century Social, Political, and Economic Challanges (pp. 113-138). Washington D.C.: The University of Johns Hopkins Press.
Top 10 percent scholarship. (2009). Retrieved from http://www.collegefortexans.com
United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit Court, (2010). Fisher vs. university of texas (No. 09-50822). Retrieved from website: http://www.acenet.edu/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Legal_Issues_and_Policy_Briefs2&CONTENTID=35880&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm