Argument: Affirm action mismatches bad students with difficult classes

Issue Report: Affirmative action

Extended argument and supporting evidence

  • Richard Sander compiled a lengthy review of affirmative action in law schools, November 2004: He ranked law schools from best to worst, revealing that affirmative action boosts black students 20 or more steps up the ladder. This puts them in schools with white classmates who possess significantly better LSAT scores and college grades. The upshot: “close to half of black students end up in the bottom tenth of their classes.” He concludes that this results in, First, black students suffering high attrition rates and, second, they fail the bar exam at a high rate (the principal predictor of a student’s passing or failing is her grades, not the quality of her school). Third, they suffer a significant employment penalty for low grades “in all schools outside the top ten.”[1][Richard Sander, “A Systemic Analysis of Affirmative Action in American Law Schools,” Stanford Law Review, 57 (November 2004), 478, 449, 460.]