| POLITICAL-LEGISLATIVE |
TEACH-CUNY | LOBBY-YOUR-LEGISLATOR
for Friends of CUNY Executive Committee:
of 1999 Resolution on Remediation and Admissions
has been a great deal of confusion about the impact of the CUNY admissions
resolution. One estimate (Lavin and
Weininger 1998) stated that among
1997 first time freshmen, over 60 percent would have been turned away from
baccalaureate programs if the new policy had been implemented. This translated into many thousands prevented from entering
these programs. On the other hand,
documents prepared by the CUNY central office for the Regents project that only
a couple of hundred students will be affected after the policy is phased in.
original description of results in the Lavin and Weininger study was not a
prediction but simply an estimate,
based on an assumption that the Board of Trustees actions should be taken at
face value. At the time, issues
such as special program or ESL exemptions were not taken into account or
provided for by the Trustees. As
more exemptions are put in place, the drastic effects would be somewhat
Lavin and Weininger study assumed that neither the news of the impending policy
change nor its actual implementation would change the behavior of applicants for
subsequent classes. However, as a
recent examination of the effects of affirmative action rollbacks makes clear (Orfield
and Miller 1998), policy change or
even the prospect of change can modify the behavior of potential applicants or
even of admittees.
writing about the influence of affirmative action at Berkeley, Karabel (1998)
has noted that "…the new policy is likely to change not only who is
admitted, but perhaps also who applies and who chooses to attend.
The effect…may thus be cumulative , with the new policy having the
potential to reduce both the number of minority applicants and the 'yield rate'
…in addition to the admission rate (p. 35).
light of the evidence from other university systems about the effects of policy
change on applications, admissions, and show rates, it is a highly speculative
exercise to project the effects of CUNY policy change on educational access, as
the central office has done. CUNY
policy will begin its phase-in this year and CUNY projections cannot be taken
seriously until reality sets in.
monitor the effects of the policy on access, it is of high importance that the
University community and the Regents have information on rates of application to
the university, since this may aid in the understanding of how policy may
encourage or discourage efforts to enter the university.
Such information can only be collected from data files on high school
graduating classes. Needless to
say, such data must be analyzed using ethnicity as one important vantage point.
assessing access, it is also important to monitor whether the flow of
applications to bachelors and
associate degree programs is changing. Changes
in the flow of applications--away from the former and toward the latter--may
signify a policy effect on applicants' perceptions of their educational
opportunities. Again, such analyses
should include a context of ethnicity.
monitoring function is that of calculating rates of acceptance at the respective
levels of the City University. This
will allow an assessment of the distribution of different groups across CUNY's
two main tiers.
is possible, even likely, that CUNY policy will discourage some from applying at
all to the university. Since there
are a large number of colleges in the New York metropolitan area and since most
of them offer remedial opportunities, many potential CUNY applicants may choose
to go elsewhere. Still others may
be discouraged from any college attendance.
This is to say that the issue of opportunity for college, and especially
among minority applicants, cannot be definitively answered by who does or does
not apply to- or attend CUNY.
this reason it is extremely important to initiate a study of college-going in
New York City. This could be done
by conducting a systematic survey of a representative sample of potential
college applicants. In 1970 when
open admissions began, exactly such a study was done (Birnbaum and Goldman,
as a whole, the above would represent an unusually ambitious undertaking.
It is undoubtedly beyond the resources available to The Friends of CUNY.
It may be that the Friends should attempt to influence research that is
done or requested by the State Education Department
and the Board of Regents.
Robert, and Joseph Goldman, 1971. The
Graduates: A Follow-up Study of
New York City High School Graduates of 1970. New York: Center for Social
Research, City University of New
David E. and Elliot Weininger. 1998.
Proposed New Admissions Criteria at
The City University of New York:
Ethnic and Enrollment Consequences.
Testimony presented to the New York City
Council Committee on Higher
Jerome. 1998. No Alternative: The Effects of Color-Blind Admissions
in California; in Orfield and Miller, pp. 33-50.
Gary and Edward Miller (editors). 1998. Chilling
Admissions: The Affirmative
Crisis and the Search for Alternatives. Cambridge,
MA: The Harvard
Education Publishing Group.