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ERIC Number: EJ780753
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Aug-9
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1557-5411
Tricky Times for the Top 10 Percent Program
Roach, Ronald
Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, v24 n13 p20-22 Aug 2007
Both supporters and critics of Texas' Top 10 Percent law have been surprised at its popularity, but some UT officials and legislators would like to see the program scaled back. As a Texas state legislator, Jim McReynolds, D-Lufkin, knows a thing or two about influencing the voting positions of his colleagues. This past spring, when Texas House members sought to scale back the state's Top 10 Percent program, McReynolds jumped to its defense. He provided other rural legislators with data showing how the program, which guarantees admission to the state's public colleges and universities to the top 10 percent of Texas' public high school students, had helped students from their legislative districts gain admission to the University of Texas at Austin. To the surprise of many political observers, McReynolds and others prevailed, as the House voted 75-64 against a bill that would have limited the number of automatically admitted students to half of a university's incoming freshman class. A coalition of Black and Hispanic Democratic legislators, aligned with McReynolds and other rural White Democrats, convinced several conservative White Republicans to vote against the measure, which had already passed the state Senate. Several higher education officials, including UT-Austin administrators, had lobbied for the legislation, arguing that the Top 10 Percent program should be capped. Triumphant for now, McReynolds and others predict the issue will eventually come back to the Legislature, especially since more than 70 percent of incoming freshmen at UT-Austin in the fall of 2006 qualified for admission under the Top 10 Percent program. Supporters vow to fight to preserve the program because they believe it has helped stimulate racial, ethnic and social diversity at the state's top institutions. Critics of the program, meanwhile, also claim to strongly support diversity in Texas institutions. But they say the law seriously threatens UT-Austin's ability to attract out-of-state and international students as well as highly talented non-Top 10 Percent students from Texas. Others, who oppose race-conscious diversity policies, say the program is flawed because it admits many Top 10 Percent students with substantially lower test scores than numerous non-Top 10 Percent Texas students who are rejected in the admissions process.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas