To the Editor:
Diversity in schools has been shown in multiple studies to increase test scores and produce more tolerant, empathetic adults (to read one of these studies, visit ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6122604). School has become a necessity rather than a privilege in our society. The chances of having an income above the poverty line and education level have a strong positive correlation. According to the Minnesota State Demographic Center, “Poverty rates were highest for those who are black (32%), American Indian (31%) and Hispanic (21%), three to four times higher than the rates of non-Hispanic white Minnesotans (7.5%).”
We are all aware of the ever growing education and income gap between the majority and minority population, and affirmative action can help mend this. It would endure that more minority students are being admitted into schools, and thus have a higher chance of a successful future. According to the Public School Review, Wayzata High School has a diversity score of .46, which is higher than the state average of .34, but still unacceptably low. As a current senior at Wayzata High and as a student of color, I suggest our school implement a similar program to the “The Choice is Yours” program of 2000-2005 to include even more students from Minneapolis.
The issue of mismatch (affirmative action students scoring lower than regular admission students) cannot be solely faulted to affirmative action policies. Mismatch actually reflects institutional racism ingrained in our society. The majority of those in poverty are minorities, as priorly noted, and these students do not receive the same educational experiences; their schools receive less funding, teachers are not paid as well, school supplies are not as good quality, etc. Obviously these students, who, again, are mostly minorities, do not have the same fundamental education that students in wealthier parts (suburbs) would receive. They would not be as prepared throughout elementary and high school for a college learning environment.
Fighting against racism and discrimination far outweighs the federal costs of affirmative action. It is our responsibility to fight for equality and justice and the first step is equal education. The future of our country quite literally depends on it.