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Monday, July 6, 2020

Repealing 209 - 4 - Letter

California's Proposition 16
Post Four on Prop 16

Below is a letter sent by Los Altos City Councilmember Anita Enander opposing what is now Proposition 16. 

Link to this for sharing

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Dear Senator,

Please oppose ACE-5. After the Bakke decision and passage of Prop. 209, some predicted catastrophic, adverse effects on some racial groups of students.

The results were quite different.  Bakke and Prop. 209 made our institutions work harder to identify the root causes for disparity in admissions and to focus more closely on the impediments to student achievement. As a result, we got better as a State.

Our universities and colleges are serving more students of all ethnicities than ever before. UC system admitted 33% more students in 2019 than in 2010. The increase in Black students was 41%; Hispanics 63%; Asians 20%. The only group whose numerical enrollment declined was Whites.

Univ. of California Admissions Growth Since 1994
(Before Prop 209)
Growth since 1994 (CA residents):
432% Hispanic, 213% Asian, 209% Black, 106% White
Data from

However, graduation rates for Black and Hispanic students lag that of other groups by 5-10%.

Now, you are considering ACA-5, which would be put on the November ballot to reverse Prop. 209. Some will argue this is a bad time for such a measure – that this is a time we should not do anything that will exacerbate racial tensions or increase the divide among racial groups.

My reason

Senator, I began working in the area of equal opportunity in 1976. In the mid-1980s I was the EEO/Affirmative Action Officer for a large federal agency, with responsibility for 14,000 employees in the 10 Western States. Over the next 20 years, I was an independent consultant who taught countless managers how to confront their own biases and change how they interacted with and managed people who were different from themselves. I investigated and negotiated numerous employment discrimination complaints in the private and public sectors. In those days a manager could say, “Well, I hired a ____, but it didn’t work out.” That was the same lazy excuse that allows our colleges to say they have admitted increasingly greater proportion of different groups, but take less responsibility for the students’ success.  

Access to Math and Science Classes
We have made significant progress, but we aren’t done with targeting the specific obstacles and changing things through continuous improvement. That is the hard but most effective work. Now is not the time to give our educational institutions and employers an easy way to go backward or to excuse their responsibility by the simple act of admission to a school or selection for a job. We need to do that remaining hard work of identifying and correcting impediments to success.

California Spends Less/Student than 45 of the 50 States
Less than Louisiana or Mississippi
(adjusted for cost of living)
Please don’t take the easy way out and vote to put ACA-5 on the ballot. It is bad public policy. Please have the courage to say ‘no.’

Anita Enander
Los Altos City Council Member

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