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为什么美国的精英学校那么“白”?

更新时间:2018-7-28 11:36:24 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

How Elite Schools Stay So White
为什么美国的精英学校那么“白”?

Who deserves to get an elite education?

谁配获得精英教育?

That question is being debated in Massachusetts, where court papers argue over Harvard’s use of race in its “holistic” admissions process, and in New York City, where politicians are trying to increase the number of black and Latino students at top public high schools.

这个问题正在马萨诸塞州和纽约辩论,在马萨诸塞州,法院文件争论哈佛大学在其“全面性”招生过程中考虑种族因素的做法;在纽约,政治人物正试图增加顶尖公立高中的黑人和拉丁裔学生人数。

But the answer has always been obvious: only the elite.

但这个问题的答案一直显而易见:只有精英阶层。

While standards of merit shift over time, prominent schools and even their critics usually take for granted admissions systems that uphold the privileges of elite groups. In the United States, “elites” are mostly white people. That means Asian-Americans and underrepresented minorities — Latinos, Native Americans and African-Americans — are pitted against one another for coveted spots at elite schools.

虽然优秀的标准随着时间的推移不断变化,但知名学校,甚至它们的批评者,通常都认为维护精英特权的招生制度是理所当然的。在美国,“精英”主要是白人。这意味着亚裔美国人和未被充分代表的的少数族裔——拉丁美洲人、美国原住民人和非裔美国人——正在争夺精英学校令人垂涎的位置。

This is patently clear in the Harvard case. A financial adviser named Edward Blum, who orchestrated Fisher v. Texas, the most recent Supreme Court case attacking affirmative action, is also behind the lawsuit against Harvard. But instead of alleging bias against whites, he and the plaintiffs use supposed anti-Asian bias as a way to undermine affirmative action for blacks and Latinos.

这在哈佛的事件中显而易见。费希尔诉得克萨斯大学(Fisher v. Texas)案——这是最高法院攻击平权行动的一个最新案例——由一位名叫爱德华·布卢姆(Edward Blum)的金融顾问策划,他也是哈佛诉讼案的幕后人物。但是,他和原告并没有指控偏向白人的行为,而是利用所谓的反亚裔偏见来破坏帮助黑人和拉丁裔的平权行动。

In doing so, however, they sidestep a more glaring inequality in admissions: Harvard applicants who are recruited athletes or children of alumni enjoy significant advantages, and these candidates are disproportionately white and well-off. However, neither the university nor Mr. Blum’s legal team address this point. In fact, Mr. Blum’s expert witness, the economist Peter Arcidiacono, excludes applicants in these “special categories” from his analysis.

然而,在这样做的同时,他们避开了招生中更明显的不平等:如果哈佛申请人是被招募的运动员或校友的孩子,他们会享受巨大的优势,而且这些候选人中白人和富人占比格外高。哈佛和布卢姆的法律团队都没有正视这一点。事实上,布卢姆的专家证人、经济学家彼得·阿契达康诺(Peter Arcidiacono)将这些“特殊类别”的申请者排除在他的分析之外。

Instead, Mr. Blum and the plaintiffs claim that black and Latino applicants unfairly have a higher chance of admission than Asian and white applicants with the same academic record. But that’s a gross misunderstanding of how admissions policies work. When evaluating applications, Harvard takes into account many nonacademic qualities, like overcoming hardship, that are not easily captured by quantitative analyses.

相反,布卢姆和原告声称,黑人和拉丁裔申请人不公平地比拥有相同成绩的亚洲和白人申请人获得了更多入学机会。但这是对招生政策如何运作的严重误解。在评估申请时,哈佛考虑了许多非学术的特质,比如克服困难的能力,这些都是定量分析不容易捕捉到的。

If Mr. Blum were really concerned with fairness, he would instead question the metrics for admissions decisions that often benefit white applicants: not only athletic recruiting and legacy preferences, but also less visible but still unbalanced considerations like geographic diversity, which favors whites because minorities in the United States are concentrated on the coasts.

如果布卢姆真的关心公平,他就会质疑录取决定的衡量标准,这些标准通常会让白人申请者受益:不仅是招收体育生和对校友子女的偏好,还有那些不那么明显但仍然失衡的考虑因素,比如地理多样性,这有利于白人,因为美国的少数族裔集中在沿海地区。

Indeed, if race alone is removed as a factor in admissions, as Mr. Blum wants, the group that will gain the most might not be Asian-Americans, but whites.

事实上,如果像布卢姆所希望的那样,取消种族作为录取的一个因素,那么获益最多的群体可能不是亚裔美国人,而是白人。

Further down the East Coast, Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York has proposed revamping admissions at eight of the city’s “specialized high schools.” These eight sought-after schools admit students solely on the basis of a standardized test. The State Legislature passed a law in 1971 to deter efforts to open those schools to black New Yorkers who can’t afford test prep and don’t have the networks to help them navigate the admissions process.

在东海岸,纽约市长白思豪(Bill de Blasio)提议改造该市八所“特殊高中”的招生制度。这八所受欢迎的学校完全根据标准化考试的成绩录取学生。该州的立法机构于1971年通过了一项法律,以阻止这些学校对那些负担不起备考费用、在招生过程中无人指点的纽约黑人敞开大门的努力。

Mr. de Blasio’s goal of making these elite schools more accessible to the two-thirds of the city’s public school students who are black or Latino is worthy of the fight necessary to change the law. But his proposal leaves out major changes that the city can make without state approval — changes that the new school chancellor, Richard Carranza, has already set in motion.

白思豪的目标是让占该市公立高中三分之二的黑人或拉丁裔学生更容易进入这些精英学校,为了这个目标去努力改变法律是值得的。但他的提议忽略了该市在没有得到州政府批准的情况下也可以做出的重大改变——该市新教育局局长理查德·卡兰扎(Richard Carranza)已经开始着手进行这些改变。

This includes reforms to admissions into the one-third of city high schools that screen applicants, rather than consider any student interested in the school. Seventy-eight high schools give priority to students who live nearby. For example, whites are overrepresented in Manhattan’s affluent District 2’s desirable schools because admissions policies consider where a student lives. These selective schools educate more New York children than the specialized schools covered by Mr. de Blasio’s proposal.

这包括改革该市三分之一高中的招生制度,这些学校会筛选申请者,而不是考虑接受任何一个想进入那所学校的学生。有78所高中优先考虑住在附近的学生。例如,在曼哈顿富裕的第二区令人向往的学校中,白人比例过高,因为招生政策考虑到了学生的居住地。这些精英学校教育的纽约儿童人数远超白思豪的提议所覆盖的特殊学校。

But the mayor has put his weight behind only changes to the specialized high schools. Perhaps he’s afraid of angering white parents. As our colleagues Syed Ali and Margaret Chin have argued, it’s not a coincidence that Asian-American students are the most overrepresented at the specialized schools but wealthy whites are the more overrepresented group at these other schools.

但是市长只支持特殊高中的改革。或许他害怕激怒白人学生的父母。正如我们的同事赛义德·阿里(Syed Ali)和玛格丽特·秦(Margaret Chin)所言,亚裔美国学生在特殊学校中的比例最高,但富裕的白人在其他精英学校中的比例更高,这并不是巧合。

In our highly unequal society, education systems have consistently found ways to favor elite, white applicants, whether it’s through slippery definitions of “merit,” giving added weight to athletes or children of alumni, or fighting to change admissions policies to schools in which Asians are more overrepresented rather than those where whites are.

在我们高度不平等的社会里,教育体制一直设法照顾精英的、白人申请者,不管是通过对“优秀”的含糊定义,给运动员和校友子女额外优待,还是努力改变那些招收了更多亚裔的学校的招生政策,而非改变那些白人学生更多的学校。

Admissions policies continue to push people of color to the margins while ensuring that a quorum of white students always have a place. To move toward a more equitable system, we must reject efforts to sow dissent between minority communities, as Mr. Blum is doing.

招生政策继续把有色人种推向边缘,同时保证特定人数的白人学生总是有一席之地。为了走向一个更公正的制度,我们必须拒绝那些在少数族裔群体中制造分歧的努力,布卢姆正在做的就是那样的事。

But we also must reject educational systems that, behind a supposed commitment to equity, quietly perpetuate the status quo. Instead of focusing on who from the margins is able to get in, we would do better to direct our attention to the fundamental ways selective admissions and educational institutions maintain the privileges of whiteness.

但我们也必须抗拒那种在所谓的公平承诺背后偷偷维护现状的教育制度。与其关注哪些位于边缘的人可以进入精英学校,更好的做法是把我们的注意力集中在选择性的招生制度和教育机构如何从根本上维护白人特权的方式。

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