Quotas create equal opportunities for all students
The idea and justification for using racial quotas in our universities and schools may have very strong advantages for our country over non-quota systems.
Having a quota option is in our country's best interest; it's good for the future and prosperity of our economy, it could be a great form of communal learning, and it may even help combat ethnocentric test scores and ethnocentrism in general.
First of all, a quota that takes in students based on their representative portion in the population helps serve the public interest in the need for security, an essential necessity. Security is achieved by ensuring equal access to education, and that also exposes the students to diverse views and perspectives, especially if presently based on race. Equal access to education and diverse exposure to other racial groups (which also exposes individuals to diverse class levels among race) helps ensure a more prosperous economy in the future of all groups by trying to help all groups achieve the same access to economic prosperity, creating stability and security. Creating equal access to a tool (education) that helps us achieve economic prosperity (which helps security), is in our best security interests.
Second, under this system it means that students will come in with different grades and qualifications (according to someone or some body charged with creating standards for all students), which means that some racial groups may come in with very low qualifications but will benefit from a superior learning experience regardless of how they compare to other racial groups. Low qualifications among some racial minorities are not a bad thing. In fact, it may be a great thing. Doesn't the military have a principle of teaching our soldiers that they will only be as good as the slowest guy in their unit? If they do, we could learn a lot from this. In this context it means a revolution in the classroom and in the way we teach and grade our students. It means teaching them to help each other out, and to ensure that they all understand together. It means accepting that we all weren't raised with equal access to an environment that made us qualified, and accepting that it is our responsibility to correct the problem in our institutions. It could mean grading through the lowest grade of the class, which could mean study group usage that could help students understand their own perspectives among different groups, which while they might participate because of their immediate interest in raising their grade through raising the group's grade, the long-term effect is to make them more aware of each other's perspectives, needs and interests, and to give them practical experience in handling conflict as they attempt to work together through their differences. It means moving away from individualized education (meaning where the student works on his own to receive a grade, regardless of what he/she learns from other students and his/her perspectives), and moving toward a more community/cultural/diversity-friendly education. The additional challenge, but very attractive benefit to these institutions may be that they would require small sizes, probably have a requirement to live in, and have to have a solid foundation in teaching conflict resolution to help the student learn better and help them teach each other better, and not just to help them work out their differences.
Lastly, quotas combat ethnocentric test scores (standards developed by one culture as a tool for measuring whether or not an individual is qualified or not to attend higher education), and they also help in bridging the gap between the rich and the poor based on race. It's important to note that public schools (K-12) may be affected to a large degree by the level of funding afforded by the taxpayers of those areas where schools are located. If this is true for some poorer neighborhoods and counties around the country, then it means that some of those individuals will be affected by poorer resources and hence develop a poorer-quality education. Furthermore, if there is any evidence to make the argument that a great majority of minorities are poorer than the majority, and they tend to live in poorer neighborhoods, then the case can be made that minorities also make up those with the poorest-quality education. This may be exacerbated by the parents of those individuals, if the reason they live there in the first place is because they lack education and hence a better job to get them out of those poorer neighborhoods. Then what do more ignorant parents mean? It means their children are less likely to receive a strong influence to become educated, study hard and succeed. So then how can you design a test score standard that takes into account the poor quality of education that some individuals have because of these circumstances? Quotas address this reality by being more culturally sensitive to the hardships that these individuals have faced, by basing entry not on achievement of a standard that doesn't qualify them (across all racial groups), but by basing entry on a requirement to attract the most talented in each racial group, which could be extended to certain targeted poor regions of the country.
To make this a reality you don't even need to build new institutions; rather, you can create two systems in already existing universities, which means two admission processes and two different philosophies of teaching that you can have in the same school.
And since this is America, and we love our freedom, who says you have to choose this as your way of life and form of education? Just let this be an option, and just let the government give these schools funds the way it gives funds to other schools. Why? Because it's in the country's best interest, and it means a greater future and a great investment. So you have a choice, and if you don't get into one of these universities, it's not racism or discrimination, but rather the opposite, since it's a part of the philosophy to achieve the opposite through quotas. You don't have to apply at a particular school, but if you do, it's because you're also agreeing to adhere by the school's philosophy.
Marquez Equalibria is a graduate student in the School of International Service.