With increasing regularity, politicians, economists, and academic researchers are calling for greater efforts to recruit young people into science and engineering, arguing that the United States’ national prosperity—and even its national security—depend on it.
Now, advocates in the science and engineering communities are making a push to ensure that a specific segment of future generations—minority youths—answers that call, too.
Two science associations last week released a guidebook offering colleges and other public institutions advice on how to maintain legally defensible programs to recruit such students, in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decisions last year in two affirmative action cases from Michigan. The justices allow for race-conscious admission policies, as long as colleges guarantee an individualized review of applicants’ records.
The guidebook, “Standing Our Ground,” was released by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a nonprofit advocacy organization in Washington, and the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, a White Plains, N.Y.-based organization devoted to increasing diversity in the profession. The guidebook offers a primer on affirmative action, the authors say, that is of use not only to colleges, but also to publicly financed programs that offer outreach to K-12 minority students.
“While this document does not offer legal advice,” the authors write, “it does provide data on opportunities and constraints, insight into possible strategies, and guidance and inspiration” for school and program officials.