At least this time they found an actual student who didn’t get into UT because of the law.
Each spring, she said, she gets calls from constituents whose children didn’t make the top 10 percent at highly competitive Plano Senior High School.Josh Wakeman, 22, a senior studying accounting at the University of Oklahoma, is among them.
“Paying out-of-state tuition is highly undesirable,” said Wakeman, who graduated from high school with a 92 average and got an academic scholarship to OU. “There’s no provision to allow students who excel in high school to still excel in college, even though they’re not in the top 10 percent.”
Well, I’m assuming he didn’t get into UT since the article never says which schools he applied to and UT is the one that has everyone so hot and bothered. And apparently no other Texas schools were good enough for Wakeman so he had to go to an out of state school? Not even A&M? So he couldn’t get an academic scholarship at any other Texas school where it might have been enough to cover his tuition? Given that less than ten percent of the students at Plano Senior High School are considered economically disadvantaged, I suspect Wakeman’s parents have footed a large part of the out of state tuition bill.
And so here’s my question to all those parents of Plano High School students who won’t make the top ten percent, what have you done to improve the quality of Texas Universities?
But there is a reason that only UT is getting such a high proportion of top-10-percent students, Montejano says, and toughening the rule to admit only the top, say, 7 percent of high school grads won’t change anything significantly or for long.
“Until Texas deals with the fact that it has only one really attractive (public) university,” he says, ” they will have the same problem.”
I’m sure diversity wasn’t a problem for most of these parents until it hit home. It didn’t bother you that over half of UT’s class came from 64 high schools as long as Plano was one of them.
“In 1996, the last year of affirmative action, half of UT’s entering class — half — came from 64 high schools and the other half came from another 500 or so,” Montejano says. “About 900 (Texas) high schools that weren’t even represented.”
After all, surely a campus where over seven percent of the student population is Hispanic is close enough to the state’s 45 % to prove it’s a reflection of the state population at large?
Let’s face it, Plano Senior High School is successful because it’s in the richest county in Texas and one of top one percent richest counties in the country. Plano parents probably didn’t care about the tuition increases that resulted from tuition de-regulation at state schools because they could still afford it. But tell them that their kids might not make it into UT so that some kids from some of the 900 high schools that hadn’t sent students before could, we’ll that’s just asking too much. And they can’t even complain that because students from less competitive high schools are being admitted that it has a negative affect on school quality and graduation rates. UT’s own anaylsis shows that students in the top 10 percent of their class do better than those who have higher SAT scores but aren’t in the top ten percent.
I suspect the attitude of many of these parents is “damn it, I worked hard to be able to live in Plano so that my kids can go to these schools and deserve to get into UT. If for some reason, other people have worked hard and never made it to Plano, that’s their problem–isn’t that what community colleges are for?” Poor, poor Plano parents, ultimately they’re going up against the following argument:
At both UT and Texas A&M, research shows that top 10 percent students have higher grade point averages, higher retention rates and higher graduation rates than those not in the top 10 percent, West’s office noted.”
Students in the top 10 percent are helping to further solidify the reputation of UT Austin as a top-notch university,” West said. “They’re the students from every walk of life in the state of Texas — urban, rural, black, white, Hispanics. Someone needs to tell me what’s wrong with that.”
And even though the argument against the top ten percent rule is for more diversity in areas that can’t be measured by SAT scores or grades:
Zaffirini, a UT graduate, said she favors changing the law provided Texas moves forward to assure racial and ethnic diversity in college admissions, such as more recruiting from under-represented high schools.
“I really don’t like a single criterion, whether it’s grades or SAT scores or anything else,” she said. “A brilliant musician, a brilliant actor, a brilliant writer might not be in the top 10 percent even though we would keep that person out of the top institution.”
The best example they can come up with is an accounting major from Plano who’s parents would rather pay to send him to OU than the wilds of College Station. It must really suck when money alone can’t buy your way into UT.