Across the nation, several states have replaced affirmative action with percentage programs in college admissions. California, Texas and Florida are at the forefront of this trend. Pennsylvania is looking into the possibility.
But while these programs may temporarily open up access for students of color, they will do little to promote an education pipeline that leads to graduate school, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights says.
Under percentage programs, state flagship colleges and universities agree to accept any student who graduates at a high level, usually within the top 10 percent, of their high school class. In Texas, Republican Gov. George W. Bush has made the percentage plan a major ingredient of his approach to college admissions following the Hopwood vs. Texas decision that outlawed affirmative action in that state.
His brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, also a Republican, has a similar initiative in his state even though Florida is not under a court order to end affirmative action.
The commission report has...