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November 5, 2018

CALIFORNIA’S PROPOSITION 209 PASSED ON THIS DAY IN 1996, THUS AMENDING THE CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION: Its operative clause states: “The State shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting.”

The hope of many Proposition 209 supporters was that the measure would reduce the effects of mismatch. And during the years it was adhered to, it appears to have done exactly that: Minority graduation rates rose rapidly, and minority on-time (four-year) graduation rates rose even faster. At the same time, minority science and engineering rose by about 50%, while the number of minority students majoring in ethnic studies or communications fell by 20%. And minority GPAs increased.

You can read about it in A “Dubious Expediency”: How Race-Preferential Admissions Policies on Campus Hurt Minority Students.