Fareed: The idea of meritocracy is under siege


in recent weeks you would have heard or read about two seemingly unrelated issues in New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has signaled his desire to scrap the highly competitive exams for 8 New York public schools in Boston of a new revelation from a lawsuit against Harvard University that alleges the university systematically discriminates against asian-americans and its admissions process this come from very different directions but they represent an assault on one of the foundations modern society the meritocracy the meritocracy is now an idea on the Sea on the right many of Donald Trump supporters see it as a codeword for an out-of-touch establishment that looks down on ordinary hard-working Americans Britain Theresa May’s call from more meritocratic Society was a sale on the left by those who saw it as a concept that breathes elitism and inequality until the 1950s America was running every card or power white Anglo-Saxon Protestant men aristocracy was slowly but surely dislodge through the rise of merit-based systems largely in education that opened up Elite institutions to people of talent no matter their background so let’s talk about the New York challenge to meritocracy it’s 8 selective schools are a wonder of the modern public education system admission to them is based on a single test having wealth or connections with I’ll get you in or with your race or athletic prowess the schools have an astonishing track record of moving smart kids out of poverty and into the middle class but it turns out that blacks and Hispanics comprise just 10% of the schools do the 68% of the city student body as a whole to favor one group of patients who make up more than 60% of the students but they complained of the schools have a diversity problem as the mare does is wrong and wrong headed Christy schools are incredibly diverse the category called Asians actually encompasses people that Trace their ancestry to China South Korea Vietnam india-bangladesh Indonesia the Philippines and widely different countries and couch that’s more important the test is designed to find talented students not to raise up specific minorities which the rest of the vast New York school system works hard to do The Challenge from Boston to the meritocracy different arguing institutions pretend to be meritocratic but don’t actually practice what they preach and several Princeton University studies Point directly and persuasively to the fact that many highly selective academic situations are systematically biased against asian-americans the lawsuit alleges Harvard uses soft criteria like personality to downgrade Asian applicants with high test scores and grade and considerable extracurricular activity this Hawkins back two methods that admissions committees began using in the 1920s then to deny qualified Jewish applicants cover denies the allegations but we should all be wary of a system that Returns the selection process to one in which people make highly subjective judgment as was the case in the days of the old boy networks historically that becomes the process that smuggles in fresh references based on class race religion politics and money it was also a process that did not find or promote genuine Talent notary pretty much Social Mobility the meritocracy is under assault package should ask themselves what would you replace it with as Churchill set of democracy a meritocracy is the worst system to select a society’s Elites except for all the others
CNN’s Fareed Zakaria says we should be wary of the type of action floated by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio who has signaled his desire to scrap the highly competitive exam for eight New York public high schools and begin taking more limited steps to admit more black and Hispanic students.

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