February 17, 2015

Damaging Admissions

Thomas Sowell: “A dean of admissions at Harvard, years ago, said, ‘the question we ask is: how well has this person used the opportunities available to him or her?’ In other words, the issue is seen as which of the competing applicants are more deserving. Since some people have had far better educational opportunities than others, that is supposed to be taken into account in deciding whom to admit. … When Jonas Salk applied to selective Townsend Harris High School in New York, and later to the then-selective City College of New York (CCNY), there might well have been some other student, not quite as academically qualified, who could have been admitted instead, on the basis of having overcome greater handicaps than Jonas Salk had. But the relevant question is: Would that other student have been equally likely to create a vaccine that would banish the scourge of polio? This is not a question of elitism versus egalitarianism. The vanquishing of polio was a boon to millions of people, rich and poor alike, to people of every race, color and creed, in countries around the world. Thank heaven Salk was not kept out of selective educational institutions for the sake of ‘social justice’ to one other individual who could have been admitted in his place.”

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