A little thought can go a long way. However, on some subjects, thinking is effectively forbidden. Here’s one.
Let’s say you’re a college professor, and that you teach a first-year class whose enrollees arrived at that class with a fairly wide distribution of high-school grade point averages. At the end of the semester, you find that there’s a strong correlation between an enrollee’s high school GPA and his performance in your class. That is: the higher performers from high school did better in your class than the lower performers. Would that result cause you any degree of consternation?
I’d find it entirely consistent with what we know about scholastic performance. Good grades are determined in larger measure by innate ability and applied effort than by any other factor or combination thereof. Moreover, the work and study habits exhibited by high performers in high school tend to follow them into college. The phenomenon is consistent with what you would normally expect.
But should you dare to remark on this where others can hear, you could be in for a lot of trouble. Like Professor Sandra Sellers, who was recently fired by Georgetown University:
A law professor at Georgetown University has been fired for pointing out that black students got lower grades in her classes. This was not due to racism. Black students get lower grades at selective colleges because they are admitted with lower grades and test scores than their non-black classmates, due to racial preferences in admissions at schools like Georgetown….
NBC News reported earlier on the brewing controversy at Georgetown, which led to an investigation of Professor Sandra Sellers:
Some Georgetown University Law students and alumni are calling for the termination of a professor captured on video discussing the performance of Black students.
“I end up having this angst every semester that a lot of my lower ones are Blacks, happens almost every semester,” the professor said in the video.
The conversation between two law professors at the Washington, D.C., school was filmed and posted to the online database Panopto, where students, who have been attending classes virtually because of the pandemic, can access the recordings. The video is no longer available on the platform.
Yes, Georgetown has fired Sandra Sellers.
Mind you, absolutely nothing about what Sellers noted in the cited video would strike a statistician as controversial. Black applicants do benefit from a racial-preference policy in admissions to Georgetown. In other words, the school lowers the requirements for admission for black applicants. They arrive there with a weaker history of academic accomplishment, which correlates strongly with deficits in innate ability and willingness to work. The consequences in substandard performance in Georgetown classes are entirely to be expected.
“But they’re black!” rises the cry. “We mustn’t say anything about black students that might be construed as disparaging! We’d be taken for racists! Don’t you care about the image of our beloved university?”
I would argue that those who designed and implement Georgetown’s admissions policies are the ones who don’t care about Georgetown’s image. Deliberately admitting applicants who can’t cut the mustard? What on Earth would justify that?
Federal money, perhaps. These days quite a large fraction of the revenues of any “institution of higher learning” comes from the federal treasury. I’m not aware of funding contingent on an admissions policy that kowtows to racial political correctness, but that would be the first place I’d look for an explanation.
At any rate, Sandra Sellers has been made the sacrificial lamb for Georgetown’s racist admissions policies. Add her name to the list of victims of preferential treatment by race. We can only hope she’ll manage to find a home at some more sensible institution. Clearly Georgetown doesn’t deserve her.