Daily Editorials

Clarifying affirmative action

The program is simply meant to ensure equal access for qualified people of all backgrounds.

The two recent Supreme Court decisions limiting affirmative action

programs and the heightened opposition to affirmative action in public

debate seem destined to doom affirmative action.

This is a shame, especially considering that many of the “facts” that

opponents use to deride the program are nothing more than fallacies.

Affirmative action only applies to government bodies and

government-funded contractors. It is not Big Brother creeping into the

board rooms of America. If a company wants to eat at the public trough, it

has to play by the trough’s rules.

Private businesses only have to abide by anti-discrimination laws.

Since anti-discrimination could, feasibly, prevent a white from getting a

job, it is probably just a matter of time before they too are


Affirmative action is NOT designed to give jobs to unqualified

applicants. It simply says that if there are a number of qualified

applicants for a contract or a job, proportional consideration should be

given to minority applicants.

This is because for so many years there was a veritable brick wall

preventing minorities from establishing themselves in these fields. It is

undeniable that this discrimination occurred.

Granted, the policies should not be infinite. At some point, our

society will have grown to the point that it will not need these programs.

We are not at that point yet.

And until then, awarding a few contracts to minority firms or making

sure that minority applicants are given equal and explicit consideration is

a small price for society to pay.

Gender-equity in schools must be broadly explored

Single-sex classes may help in some instances,

but they are no overall solution.

Gender equity, or inequity, has been on the minds of students, parents

and teachers alike. The West Des Moines school board is taking steps to

correct this travesty, in the form of single-sex classes.

The school board would give students the option of being separated by

gender for one part of the school day in two elementary schools. By doing

this, the board is focusing on only one “solution” to the problem.

This program might provide answers and reliable information to correct

the differential treatment that females receive in the American school

system. But by using single-sex classes as the “solution,” the school board

is providing the community with narrow alternatives.

The school board has approved many other options, such as reviewing

curriculum and correcting gender inequities, studying whether instructors

teach boys and girls equally and offering teachers classes on how to

address gender issues.

American schools need to have reliable teachers that do not teach in a

gender-biased way. But separating students by sex, as promising as it may

seem, will not be a permanent nor viable solution to gender inequality.

The school board must realize that this is first and foremost a teacher

problem. Any real solution to gender inequity must ultimately grapple with

this reality.

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