Preferential Treatment

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A couple of more points on the allegedly “preferential treatment” that Michael Goldfarb thinks Sonia Sotomayor received during her Princeton years. First, as Michael O’Hare says:

I remember arriving at Harvard (a decade before SS went to college) from the Bronx HS of Science, whence Harvard had admitted eleven students a year since forever, out of a graduating class of about 800- of whom, we learned, none had ever graduated less than magna. There I found many things of interest to a New York kid, for example (1) Protestants! (2) …who seemed to be in charge of everything! My social justice gland went into overdrive as I started to meet the thirty-odd Pomfret students (a third of their graduates) in my class through my roommate, and compare them just on general smarts to the BHSS students who hadn’t made the cut with me.

Right. When I was at Harvard in the early days of the 21st Century, it seemed that there was very little year-to-year variance in the number of kids admitted from Dalton to each class. Similarly, there was very little year-to-year variance in the number of kids admitted from Stuyvesant to each class. These were two very good high schools in New York City. One was very expensive, one was free. Admission to Dalton was competitive, but only a minority of families could afford the tuition, and many of the students had been admitted in kindergarden. Admission to Stuyvesant was done via a standardized test administered to eighth graders. Naturally, the more-or-less fixed formula had Harvard take in a higher proportion of any given Dalton graduating class than any given Stuyvesant graduating class. Consequently, while the Dalton kids were considerably worldlier and in some ways more sophisticated, on average the Stuyvesant kids were smarter.

Which is to say that, as everyone knows, the main affirmative action at fancy private colleges is for the well-to-do in general and legacies in particular. Read about the “z list” (see also) and then complain about preferential treatment.

Meanwhile, it turns out that the specific innuendo Goldfarb was peddling about Sotomayor was false in all its key particulars. he didn’t get “preferential treatment” by being allowed to teach her own class