Texas House Bill 588

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Texas House Bill 588, commonly referred to as the "Top 10% Rule", is a Texas law passed in 1997. It was signed into law by then governor George W. Bush on May 20, 1997.

Texas State of the United States of America

Texas is the second largest state in the United States by both area and population. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, while the Gulf of Mexico is to the southeast.

George W. Bush 43rd President of the United States

George Walker Bush is an American politician and businessman who served as the 43rd president of the United States from 2001 to 2009. He had previously served as the 46th governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000.

The law guarantees Texas students who graduated in the top ten percent of their high school class automatic admission to all state-funded universities. The bill was created as a means to avoid the stipulations from the Hopwood v. Texas appeals court case banning the use of affirmative action. The Supreme Court ruled in Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) that affirmative action in college admissions was permissible, effectively overruling Hopwood. UT Austin then reinstated affirmative action for the seats not filled by the Top Ten Percent law.

<i>Hopwood v. Texas</i>

Hopwood v. Texas, 78 F.3d 932, was the first successful legal challenge to a university's affirmative action policy in student admissions since Regents of the University of California v. Bakke. In Hopwood, four white plaintiffs who had been rejected from University of Texas at Austin's School of Law challenged the institution's admissions policy on equal protection grounds and prevailed. After seven years as a precedent in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the Hopwood decision was abrogated by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003.

Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003), was a landmark case in which the United States Supreme Court upheld the affirmative action admissions policy of the University of Michigan Law School. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, writing for the majority in a 5–4 decision and joined by Justices Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer, ruled that the University of Michigan Law School had a compelling interest in promoting class diversity. The Court held that a race-conscious admissions process that may favor "underrepresented minority groups", but that also took into account many other factors evaluated on an individual basis for every applicant, did not amount to a quota system that would have been unconstitutional under Regents of the University of California v. Bakke. The Court applied strict scrutiny that it claimed was made "no less strict" when it followed a "tradition of giving a degree of deference" "within constitutionally prescribed limits" to the university regarding the compelling nature of its interest in diversity.

The law only guarantees admission into university. Students must still find the means to pay, and may not achieve their desired choice of major. (Another existing law, which preceded 588, provides a full tuition scholarship for the class valedictorian of a Texas high school for their freshman year at a state public school.)

Valedictorian is an academic title of success used in the United States, Canada, Central America, Singapore, and the Philippines for the student who delivers the closing or farewell statement at a graduation ceremony. The chosen valedictorian is often the student with the highest ranking among their graduating class. The term is an Anglicised derivation of the Latin vale dicere, historically rooted in the valedictorian's traditional role as the final speaker at the graduation ceremony before the students receive their diplomas. The valedictory address generally is considered a final farewell to classmates, before they disperse to pursue their individual paths after graduating.

The Texas "Top 10% Plan" is a transition from a race based policy known as affirmative action. Under a policy such as Texas' Top 10% plan, it is believed that student enrollment for minority students specifically would follow a mismatch hypothesis. This hypothesis predicts that the rates of minority students graduation and retention would improve under the newly established plan in opposition to affirmative action. This mismatch theory would be a result of students finding a university that is a better match for them academically, rather than overreaching and becoming overshadowed. [1]

The law has drawn praise and criticism alike. Supporters of the rule argue that it ensures geographic and ethnic diversity in public universities. They also point out that students admitted under the legislation performed better in college than their counterparts. [2] The law has been blamed for keeping students not in the top ten percent but with other credentials, such as high SAT scores or leadership and extracurricular experience, out of the larger "flagship" state universities, such as the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University, College Station. UT-Austin has argued for several years that the law has come to account for too many of its entering students, with 81 percent of the 2008 freshmen having enrolled under it. [3]

University of Texas at Austin public research university in Austin, Texas, United States

The University of Texas at Austin is a public research university in Austin, Texas. It was founded in 1883 and is the flagship institution of the University of Texas System. The University of Texas was inducted into the Association of American Universities in 1929, becoming only the third university in the American South to be elected. The institution has the nation's eighth-largest single-campus enrollment, with over 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students and over 24,000 faculty and staff. As of December 2018, it also has the second-largest endowment among higher-education institutions in the US, surpassed only by Harvard University.

Texas A&M University public research university in College Station, Texas, United States

Texas A&M University is a public research university in College Station, Texas, United States. It is a state flagship university and since 1948 is the founding member of the Texas A&M University System. The Texas A&M system endowment is among the 10 largest endowments in the nation. As of 2017, Texas A&M's student body is the largest in Texas and the second largest in the United States. Texas A&M's designation as a land, sea, and space grant institution–the only university in Texas to hold all three designations–reflects a range of research with ongoing projects funded by organizations such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Office of Naval Research. In 2001, Texas A&M was inducted as a member of the Association of American Universities. The school's students, alumni—over 450,000 strong—and sports teams are known as Aggies. The Texas A&M Aggies athletes compete in 18 varsity sports as a member of the Southeastern Conference.

Some administrators, such as former University of Texas at Austin President Larry Faulkner, have advocated capping the number of top ten percent students for any year at one half of the incoming class. Others have suggested a move to a top seven percent law. However, until May 2009 the Texas Legislature had not revised the law in any way since its inception. A 2007 measure (HB78) was introduced during the 80th Regular Session (2007) but never made it out of committee.

Larry Faulkner American academic

Dr. Larry Ray Faulkner is an American academic and businessman. He served as the twenty-seventh president of The University of Texas at Austin from 1998 to 2006, and as the president of the Houston Endowment Inc. from 2006 to 2012.

Texas Legislature

The Legislature of the state of Texas is the state legislature of Texas. The legislature is a bicameral body composed of a 31-member Senate and a 150-member House of Representatives. The state legislature meets at the Capitol in Austin. It is a powerful arm of the Texas government not only because of its power of the purse to control and direct the activities of state government and the strong constitutional connections between it and the Lieutenant Governor of Texas, but also due to Texas's plural executive.

Under legislation approved in May 2009 by the Texas House as part of the 81st Regular Session (Senate Bill 175), UT-Austin (but no other state universities) was allowed to trim the number of students it accepts under the 10% rule; UT-Austin could limit those students to 75 percent of entering in-state freshmen from Texas. The University would admit the top 1 percent, the top 2 percent and so forth until the cap is reached, beginning with the 2011 entering class. UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa and UT-Austin President William Powers Jr. had sought a cap of about 50 percent, but lawmakers (led by Representatives Dan Branch (R-Dallas) and Rep. Mike Villarreal (D-San Antonio)) brokered the compromise.

A study in 2011 found that the law created a perverse incentive for students to transfer to a high school with lower-achieving peers, in order to graduate in that school's top percent. [4]


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Reverse discrimination is discrimination against members of a dominant or majority group, in favor of members of a minority or historically disadvantaged group. Groups may be defined in terms of disability, ethnicity, family status, gender identity, nationality, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation, or other factors. This discrimination may seek to redress social inequalities under which minority groups have had less access to privileges enjoyed by the majority group. In such cases it is intended to remove discrimination that minority groups may already face. The label reverse discrimination may also be used to highlight the discrimination inherent in affirmative action programs. Reverse discrimination can be defined as the unequal treatment of members of the majority groups resulting from preferential policies, as in college admissions or employment, intended to remedy earlier discrimination against minorities.

Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265 (1978), was a landmark decision by the Supreme Court of the United States. It upheld affirmative action, allowing race to be one of several factors in college admission policy. However, the court ruled that specific racial quotas, such as the 16 out of 100 seats set aside for minority students by the University of California, Davis School of Medicine, were impermissible.

University of Texas System

The University of Texas System is a government entity of the state of Texas that oversees 14 educational institutions throughout the state including eight universities and six health institutions. The UT System is headquartered in Downtown Austin, and has a total enrollment of over 216,000 students and employs more than 87,000 faculty and staff. The UT System's $24 billion endowment is the largest of any public university system in the United States. As of 2018, Reuters ranks the UT System among the top 10 most innovative academic institutions in the world.

Texas State University System state university system

The Texas State University System (TSUS) was created in 1911 to oversee the state's normal schools. Since its creation it has broadened its focus and comprises institutions of many different scopes. The other systems of state universities are the Texas A&M System, the Texas Tech System, the University of Houston System, the University of North Texas System, and the University of Texas System.

Steven Wayne Smith, is a Republican former Texas Supreme Court associate justice, who was defeated for renomination in 2004 through the active opposition of then Governor Rick Perry. He was unseated by Paul W. Green. Smith again lost – very narrowly – a bid for nomination to the court in the March 7, 2006, GOP primary, when Perry again opposed his candidacy.

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The University of Texas School of Law is one of the professional graduate schools of the University of Texas at Austin. In 2018 the law school was ranked No. 15 by the U.S. News & World Report, and No. 12 by Above the Law Texas Law is consistently ranked among the top five public law schools in the United States. The school is also ranked No. 1 for the biggest return on investment among law schools in the United States. Every year, Texas Law places a large part of its class into the nation's largest law firms, where base salaries start at over $190,000.

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Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Texas face legal and social challenges and discrimination not faced by other people. Same-sex sexual activity is legal in the state. On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled bans on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional in Obergefell v. Hodges. Texas has a hate crime statute that strengthens penalties for certain crimes motivated by a victim's sexual orientation, although it has never been invoked. Gender identity is not included in the hate crime law. There is no statewide law banning anti-LGBT discrimination. However, some localities in Texas have ordinances that provide a variety of legal protections and benefits to LGBT people.

Young Conservatives of Texas

Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) is a non-partisan conservative youth organization based in Texas. Founded in 1980, it has chapters at ten universities—including Baylor University, the University of North Texas, Texas A&M University, Texas State University, the University of Texas at Austin, Trinity University, Lone Star College, Texas Wesleyan University, St. Edwards University, and Texas Tech University.

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Affirmative action refers to activities or policies that seek to help groups that are often affected by discrimination obtain equal access to opportunities, particularly in areas such as employment and education. In the early 2000s, the use of race, gender, and other factors in college and university admissions decisions came under attack. The University of Michigan was sued several times by students who felt they were denied admittance because they were white, and the idea of eliminating measures that provided women, minorities, and others with preferential treatment gained momentum. In 2006, voters approved Proposal 2—also called the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative—which "amend[ed] the Michigan Constitution to ban public institutions from discriminating against or giving preferential treatment to groups or individuals based on their race, gender, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public education, public employment, or public contracting". As a result, the university was prohibited from considering race as part of its holistic admissions process. Minority enrollment decreased, and the university was forced to develop alternative strategies to increase diversity among its student population.

References

  1. Kalena, Cortes (May 2010). "Kalena E. Cortes, Syracuse University Do Bans on Affirmative Action Hurt Minority Students? Evidence from the Texas Top 10% Plan". Article in Economics of Education Review: 1110–1124. doi:10.17848/wp10-168.
  2. "'Top 10 percent rule' on session agenda". Archived from the original on 2012-09-10.
  3. "House moves to scale back top 10 percent rule", Ralph K.M. Haurwitz, Austin American-Statesman, May 26, 2009
  4. Cullen, Julie Berry; Long, Mark C.; Reback, Randall (2011). "Jockeying for Position: Strategic High School Choice Under Texas' Top Ten Percent Plan". NBER Working Paper 16663.