Education Letter to the Editor

Mich. Affirmative Action: Tackling K-12 Inequities?

February 20, 2007 1 min read

To the Editor:

Regarding your National Roundup brief “Admissions Case Ends” (Feb. 7, 2007):

I have a challenge for Jennifer Gratz, the rallying force behind the recently completed lawsuit against affirmative action at the University of Michigan. Her organization, the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, has on its Web site’s home page a picture of white and black children happily exiting a school building together. While this is a warm scene, it distorts the truth about how most minorities are being served by the public schools, which more often tend to segregate them on the bottom of a two-tiered system.

If Ms. Gratz is truly a leader of civil rights, her next move should be to direct her energies toward the improvement of the dismal K-12 schools within which most minorities in her state are trapped. Minorities in Michigan are likely to be schooled in K-12 classrooms with student-teacher ratios often double what Ms. Gratz had. Many do not even have the opportunity to be the animated cheerleader Ms. Gratz proudly described herself as on her own college application; their schools can’t afford a squad.

Since Michigan colleges will now be barred from extending minorities the extra opportunities they lacked in grade school, Ms. Gratz should tackle next the injustices in her state that made affirmative action a necessary provision in the first place. Otherwise, she is just another child of privilege protecting the privileged.

Ross Freshwater

Eagle Harbor, Mich.

A version of this article appeared in the February 21, 2007 edition of Education Week as Mich. Affirmative Action: Tackling K-12 Inequities?