Sunday, February 8, 2015

From Lani Guinier

I am reading the New York Times on a Sunday, sitting next to the woodstove to keep warm. In an interview entitled Redefining Diversity, Re-evaluating Merit, by Tamar Lewin, Lani Guinier has some important things to say.

The score on your SATs or other exams is a better predictor of your parents’ income and the car they drive than of your performance in college. The credentials of our testocracy legitimize a new elite, and give them an inflated sense of their worth.

Diversity is not simply a matter of having people who look different sitting next to each other but learning in the same way.

Studies show that groups made up of the highest-performing individuals are not as good at solving complex multidimensional problems - like designing environmental policies, cracking codes or creating social welfare systems - as groups with a mix of skills, backgrounds and ways of thinking, even if the individuals in the group are not all high performers.

Guinier’s new book is called The Tyrrany of Meritocracy: Democratizing Higher Education in America.