Right Wing Think Tank Targets UW-Madison

September 13, 2011 | Blog

Tomorrow the so-called Center for Equal Opportunity, a right-wing think tank headed by Linda Chavez and based in Sterling, Virginia will begin an assault on UW-Madison. The Center charges that the university seeks to advance racial equality by exercising preferences in admissions practices.

As you consider the “case” the Center will lay out– the “study” will be released tomorrow and then we will all see the “facts”– please note the following:

This “CEO” (I refuse to call them the CEO in all seriousness..) has a long and sordid track record. UW-Madison is one in a long line– a line at least 60 colleges and universities long– targeted by this group. It supports what it describes as “colorblind public policies,” including the elimination or curtailment of existing racial preference and affirmative action programs, the replacement of bilingual and ESL programs with English immersion, and the adoption of policies that both welcome increased immigration while calling for the assimilation of new immigrants to the United States.

The facts are not in CEO’s favor. Forget the evidence on whether preferences are being exercised–they are beside the point. At issue is how we help all students succeed. Despite claims that helping students with more modest test scores gain access to elite institutions puts them at a disadvantage–the so-called mismatch hypothesis–numerous rigorous empirical studies find exactly the opposite. I will cover them on this blog soon.

Moreover, despite claims of being post-racial, this think tank is advancing an agenda that is decidedly racial. Pushing for assimilation of new immigrants? Seriously, what century are you from?

UW Madison is replete with scholars of education and inequality who can shed light on these important concerns. I hope the community, and the media, will go searching for real, hard facts, rather than listening to ideologues.

I will write more about this soon.


  1. Reply


    September 13, 2011

    "Pushing for assimilation of new immigrants? Seriously, what century are you from?" Wow...what universe are you from? In Wisconsin, pushing for assimilation is as much a given as pushing for free speech, 100%, but I should know by now that Madison is Wisconsin in name only.

    I just graduated from UW but I'll never forget the day in my senior year at a Wisconsin public high school when several students realized that colleges promoted racial "diversity". I had never seen so many of my classmates so angry about a political issue. These were young people who hadn't cared about politics before, but this issue was getting them interested in joining the right-wing. They are the Wisconsin voter, and they'll vote to cut the UW.

  2. Reply


    September 13, 2011

    Pushing for assimilation is the same reason why Wisconsinites, and all Americans, painted German-Americans' homes yellow in WWI. ESL is teaching people to become English speaking members of American culture without giving up all of who they are. In a state where Germanfest, Oktoberfest, Polish-fest... are all a part of the make-up of the state. Assimilation is something we seem to want for other people, but we have never done it. Everyone brings something different to America and that is what America is. Yes, Madison is a different world, but Stevens Point looks quite a bit different from Rhinelander, or Eau Claire.

    Consideration of race as an aspect of admissions has been held Constitutional. It was based on the ideas of the U..S. military academies. Army, Marine, Air Force and Navy Generals and Admirals all testified in favor of this stance. Going against the Supreme Court and the U.S. Military cannot be claimed as the more American or Wisconsin way of thinking.

  3. Reply

    Allow me to translate.

    "I'll never forget the day in my senior year at a [largely white] Wisconsin public high school when several students realized that [not all colleges were as interested in preserving their white privilege as the white students themselves were]. I had never seen so many of my classmates [without sufficient academic records to get themselves into college] so angry about [an issue they politicized]. These were young [largely uninformed and ignorant of the law] people who hadn't cared about politics [until it threatened to shatter their self-perceived specialness and privilege borne of their whiteness], but this issue was getting them interested in [losing their sanity and moral compass]. They are the [lower-middle-class disenfranchised anti-intellectual white males hell-bent on securing their inherited privilege and drawn to incoherent strains of neolibertarianism rural] Wisconsin voter [sic] [if an election happened at that moment and it wasn't too long of a walk to cast the ballot], and they'll [stop caring as soon as they grow up just a little bit, read a book {not authored by a Faux News talking head) or a supreme court case, and get over themselves - or until they either get into a school that will accept their academic record or get a job or in some other way feel that they've latched on to whatever it is to which they feel they are entitled; whichever comes first]."

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