SHORT TAKES: No easy answers on affirmative action

By Darrin Clark • Last Updated 10:59 am on Monday, November 19, 2012

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati last Thursday overturned Michigan’s 2006 voter-approved ban on affirmative action in college admissions and public hiring.

The court’s action brought an immediate response from Michigan’s Attorney General Bill Schuette, who will appeal the ruling. The ultimate result of this question will have a lot to do with the cost of, and access to, higher education in this country.

There are those who feel that we have a vast array of community and state colleges that are quite capable of preparing students for further study at other universities offering more advanced programs at higher levels.

If efficiency of operations and control of costs are critical ingredients, then direct admission to our highest level university programs should be somewhat exclusive. Those schools, if they wish to, should be free to use merit, i.e., personal and scholastic achievement and likelihood of graduation as prime qualifiers for acceptance. Students who have reached that status should not be denied acceptance because of racial, ethnic or other quotas.

But social and cultural diversity are also absolute essential ingredients in education; more so than ever in today’s global society. Educational inclusiveness is of paramount importance whether it is in the earliest stages of schooling or at the highest university level. So for many young scholars not yet sporting the academic credentials, what’s past is not necessarily prologue, so why should there not be some classroom seats allocated for them?

There are no easy answers to the affirmative action question, and no doubt there’s more to come on this issue.

• • • •

Next question: What to do about pot? First, the medical marijuana business brouhaha shows how incapable we are of “part way” management of a complicated societal challenge.

Now we have Grand Rapids choosing to decriminalize personal use of the substance.

Will we begin to have selective enforcement from city to city, township to township, and county to county? What about state law? And what are the legal questions emerging from driving under the influence of the substance?

But wait! There’s more … Marijuana possession is contrary to federal law.

Who’s minding the store, anyway?

• • • •

Lest we forget … This is the week for remembering just how blessed we are. This is the week for giving thanks.

Before we plot our strategy for the best “Black Friday” Christmas shopping deals, and before we sit down for a traditional Thanksgiving Day feast, we still have a few days for the “giving” in thanksgiving.

If you don’t know of someone or someplace needing help, find a church and it’ll help you find a food bank or a family in need. Your holiday will be all the more fulfilling if you can place the giving in front of the thanks.

Editorial opinions are the consensus of The Daily News editorial board.

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