A reader writes:
Any discussion about affirmative action is incomplete without a discussion of learning mismatch. The evidence is pretty clear at this point that mismatch is real and producing negative outcomes. Here is a post that discusses it in the context of Fisher.
That post is by Richard Sander, an economist and law professor at UCLA who has spent more than a decade studying the theory of “mismatch”—when the college application of a student who benefitted from affirmative action is significantly weaker than the average student’s at the same college, and thus the AA student would be a better “match” at a less competitive school because he or she is more likely to thrive—both in college and after graduation. Sander argues that a mismatch ends up disadvantaging an AA student even more than if he or she had originally attended a less prestigious college. From his post:
A second form of mismatch—“competition” mismatch—occurs when students abandon particular fields, or college itself, because of the practical and psychological effects of competing with better-prepared students.
Now, at this point, many object that despite the mismatch, the students excel nevertheless. Here is the rub: the data is in, and in crucial ways and too often, they do not.