Texas 10 Percent Plan Has Not Improved Minority

Texas 10 Percent Plan Has Not Improved Minority
Representation, Republican Leader SaysAUSTIN, Texas
Texas law requiring public colleges and universities to accept students who graduate in the top 10 percent of their high school classes has harmed schools and has not improved minority representation, Republican House Speaker Tom Craddick said last month.

Craddick and other lawmakers are considering imposing limits to the law.

“If you look at the balance, it has not increased the minority representation in these classes,” Craddick said of the admissions law adopted after a 1996 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision made affirmative action in admissions illegal in Texas. A U.S. Supreme Court decision in June 2003 has since allowed public universities to use race as one factor in admissions.

Craddick said he would favor a plan that allows no more than half those admitted in a freshman class acceptance under the top 10 percent rule. A similar measure passed the House in 2003 but failed in the Senate. At least one bill proposing changes to the law has been filed for debate during the legislative session that began in January, and more are expected.

Republican Rep. Geannie Morrison chaired the House committee on higher education in 2003 and presented an amendment to cap the number of students admitted under the top 10 percent law.

She said the law needs to change to give colleges and universities more flexibility to make admissions decisions.

Rep. Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands, has submitted legislation for the upcoming session that would allow university systems like the University of Texas and Texas A&M University to admit students accepted under the top 10 percent law to any system institution. Students would provide a priority list of the schools they would like to attend.

University administrators, including University of Texas at Austin President Larry Faulkner, have urged lawmakers to change the law.

“We’re approaching levels of admission at UT-Austin that soon will mean that admissions to that institution would be based on a single criterion, class standing, and we don’t believe that is fair,” said Michael Warden, UT System spokesman. “Some change is needed.” 

Associated Press



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