Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

Webster hiring process on the basis of gender,

Webster et al. define
affirmative action as “an active effort to improve the employment or
educational opportunities of members of minority groups and women” (76). Historically,
the society has discriminated various groups such as women, children, or any
other marginalized people. As a result, they lack employment, education, and
other essential services which they would otherwise deserve. In school,
policies of affirmative action seek to avail equal opportunities to all groups
in the society. The objective of this research paper is to explore various ways
in which affirmative action has contributed to the provision of educational
opportunity to marginalized groups in the community. Some of the aspects of
education to be reviewed include admission to higher learning institutions.
Upon outlining the effect of the policies on the educational development of z
women, the paper will advise on the policy framework to help policymakers avail
the services to all.

As time elapsed, the idea
of eradicating discrimination in education continued to gain strong momentum in
the United States of America. Perhaps the support that the program had from
government authorities gave it the hope for success. African Americans were an
important asset in the social, political and economic sector and thus
segregation in education attainment meant that there was going to be a negative
effect. Above all, the contribution of the black Americans in the development
of the economy was going to be significant thus the call for effective
implementation of the affirmative action. To come up with the right policies
aimed at enhancing the access to education and employment opportunities for
African Americans meant a significant transformation. It was not only going to
benefit the blacks but rather the life of all citizens in America.  The call for anti-discrimination among the
black Americans would mean that the society would grant every citizen an equal
opportunity to attain education as well as employment.

Background

The idea of equal opportunities started
early 1961 when President John F Kennedy put across an executive order meant to
fight discrimination in America. At the time, the country was experiencing
racial discrimination, with blacks being its primary target. Before 1960, no
African-American student had gained admission to a public university.
Affirmative action was initially meant to protect African American learners
against racial and gender discrimination (Williams 48). Towards the end of 1965, the president
confirmed new executive orders that required employers to avoid discrimination
in their hiring process on the basis of gender, origin, or race.
By the same year, five percent of undergraduate students were of African
descent. Hence, the initiative had started yielding fruit. In 1967 (Williams
48), affirmative action incorporated gender into the anti-discrimination list.

In the subsequent years, many institutions
of higher learning resolved to embrace the idea of affirmative action policies
aimed at enhancing stability in all aspects of life. Following this new
development, the rate of students from minority groups in America, enrolling
for studies had drastically increased. By 2007, slightly above 56% of African
American high school students would gain admission to institutions of higher
learning (Roderick
4).
The majority of students were whites, with 70% of them transitioning to
universities. The number of Hispanic students was found to be relatively low
compared to the whites. Given these facts, one can affirm that the
anti-discrimination policies have significantly affected higher education in
America. The population of students enrolling in universities and colleges has
increased with African American reaching 65% (Roderick 4).
The growth trend indicates that the policies have contributed, to no small
extent, to the growth of education sector.

Impacts of Affirmative
Action on Education

As
clearly illustrated, affirmative action goes beyond admission policies. After
admission, colleges and universities reach out to various discriminated groups.
The government facilitates affirmative initiatives by increasing the funding on
colleges. The institutions will then go ahead to offer scholarship opportunities
to less represented groups. More women and African American students have
benefited from the policies significantly following the commitment and devotion
from the relevant authorities steering up the whole thing. The policy also
incorporates various support programs on the campus. The primary outcome of the
support program is to help the students improve their academic performance.

Through affirmative action, the number of
applications to join various universities has consistently risen. However, in
some states, which have abolished the policy, the number of minority applicants
has increased. Some of the states that have destroyed the laws include
California and Texas. According to statistics, universities in the two states
have experienced a significant drop in the number of underrepresented
applicants as detailed by Roderick (5). Without the law, the school would
only serve the interests of the majority in the community. However, the
policies allow proper representation of all groups in the states and the entire
society. Every citizen or learner have the privilege to access education as
stratified by the laws and regulations in place. Affirmation action plan
enables the society to cater for the needs of all citizens regardless of their
gender and race. All in all the basic concern lies in the need for
accommodating every person in the education sector without discrimination. It
would eradicate if not completely finish the strong application of ethnic and
racial segregation in learners admission as well as financial aid.

Another effect of the program is that it
has empowered its beneficiaries to land on job opportunities. Through the
provision of paid scholarships and bursaries, many students have accomplished
their careers. They have entered the job market, improving their living
standards. Affirmative action has provided an opportunity for less fortunate
persons in the society to study in competitive institutions. Through solid
academic and professional backgrounds, the students have acquired corporate
skills necessary for well-paying jobs. Apart from formal employment, others
have earned self-reliant skills. As a result, they have opened up business
enterprises, employing and empowering other people. Entrepreneurial skills and
knowledge have also been instilled into the learners. As a consequence, they
have ventured into business entities that have vastly grown to become great in
the society. Such opportunities have as well created job opportunities for the
employers and employees in a significant manner. If it were not for
anti-discriminatory education opportunities then such golden opportunities
could never be realized thanks to the pioneers of this program.

Affirmative action has also encouraged
multi-cultural integration in learning institutions a condition that enhanced
social interaction. According to Kusow (15), through the
policies stipulated in the regulation sector, every organization must provide
equal opportunity to all. In implementing this legal requirement, the schools
admit students from all countries of the world. People from different racial,
social-cultural, and religious backgrounds converge in these learning and
vocational training institutions. The platform prepares the students to meet
diverse cultures and co-exist among various groups upon their graduation.
Through integration, students all over the world can interact freely, promoting
international cooperation. Once, the cooperation is enhanced then people could
exchange ideas to develop as a block other than separate entities. Education
and economic diversity create such privileges in the society and thus the
application of the anti-discriminatory policies this has come to pass. It has
enhanced the collective responsibility of the skilled personnel in the market
making it possible for the people to get to the heights of attaining education
and skill development.

Another effect of affirmative action is
that it compensates for socioeconomic disparities in the society as explained by Featherman et
al. (123). Typically, the high-income members of the community
can access affluent educational opportunities. They can raise sufficient levels
of money to cater for their education and training fees. On the other hand, the
majority of the population is the low-income earners. As a result, they cannot
afford to pay for their educational expenses. Therefore, they cannot attain the
high professional standards required in the corporate world. Affirmative action
has helped to bridge the big difference between the rich and the poor in the
society that has been on the rise previously. Through admission opportunities,
low-income individuals have received opportunities to improve their skills,
hence raising their standard of living. With the gained skills by the blacks,
they can venture into the various sectors of economic development where they
get paid and enhance their skills. Also, they are able to achieve credible
results in the job market to gain the competent skills necessary for nation
building.

The anti-discrimination program as well as
enhanced international relations. It has done this in a significant way because
people are able to access education at the American institutions of higher
learning. Earlier, people could not venture into the sector easily but with the
current policies in place, international students can join the institutions. It
has made it possible for new students to come in and study at these
universities from diverse nations of the world and this creates good relations
among them and the United States. It was a great idea for the invention and
implementation of the anti-discrimination policies that have continued to
benefit the larger American continent and the globe at large. Additionally, the
people of America have also ventured into appreciating others diversity
particularly the black Americans giving them an opportunity to attain credible
results. The education sector has also experienced significant transformation
as they work to enhance the standards of attaining skills and competency by the
learners.

Limitation of Affirmative
Action

Despite the positive effects, the program
of equal opportunity has come across various critics aiming at reducing its
vast implication. Firstly, some people feel that the idea is outdated. It was
created with the view of fighting discrimination. Over the decades, the policy
has ended up promoting the vice it was meant to control. Critics argue that
students have been accorded opportunities based on their racial extractions
rather than academic merit. Initially, the limited opportunities were available
to all (Roderick,
Coca & Nagaoka 13). However, the creation of these policies
has negatively impacted this aspect since the value is overlooked. In some
universities, professors favor the minority student groups, who end up giving
them unearned grades. It poses a great challenge in the attainment of the
intended competency for them to fit into the job market.

Critics have also faulted affirmative
action for lowering academic standards for students. In serving the interests
of the underrepresented groups, the institutions are forced to reduce the
grades and points. For example, most of the policies in the school system favor
the women over men. As a result, their grade standards are lowered so that they
can compete equitably with their male counterparts as detailed by Leiter and Leiter (52).
However, the strategy ends up demeaning the set standards. The students
targeted by the policies become complacent. They do not seek the ideal
standard, but only work to achieve the minimum requirements.

Another limitation of the
policy is that it may not benefit the targeted economically disadvantaged
students. Empirical evidence has indicated that the procedure helps the middle
and high-class minorities (Leiter
and Leiter 53). There is also no recognized framework to
follow up on the policy and ensure that the real targets benefit from the
initiatives. Opposes of affirmative action have cast aspersion on the policy as
the one promoting racial prejudice. Indeed, there is no significant correlation
between people’s skin color and their level of intelligence. Therefore,
strategies end up favoring the underrepresented groups without regard to merit.

Recommendation   

Having
presented the positive and negative effects of affirmative action, it becomes
possible to make various suggestions to improve the policy. Some of the
recommendations proposed, include the following:

The strategies should focus more on equal
opportunity for all persons despite their gender or race. As it is, the
affirmative action serves the interests of minority groups. Consequently, it
ignores the welfare of the majority groups. An example here is a policy to
admit black learners in American universities as a way of providing equal
learning opportunities. In this case, the institution encourages the minority
students to apply for admission as detailed by Williams (46). The organizations
then take in the students, providing financial support to them. Moreover, the
universities offer various support platforms to help the minority students to
excel in their studies. By doing so, the institutions ignore the majority of
the students, whose welfare is equally important.

Government institutions
should develop a legal framework to enhance compliance with the policy of affirmative action. As
seen earlier, this policy does not benefit the low-class students. In fact,
studies have proposed ways for reforming affirmative action to make more
inclusive (Kusow 81). On the contrary, the low and high-class
students gain from the initiatives. Since government institutions spent many
resources to implement the affirmative action, it is essential that the right
people benefit from the work.

Conclusion

The essay has outlined crucial information
regarding affirmative action and its implication on the lives of black American
on their quest to attain credible learning opportunities. It has targeted
mainly in the areas of education as well as employment. The article has
explored the impact of the affirmative policies on the two sectors. Through
affirmative action, underrepresented groups have secured admission in higher
learning institutions. It is also evident that the idea behind equal
opportunity program, through training opportunities, has provided relevant
skills and empowered the students to obtain excellent employment opportunities.
Consequently, employment has improved their living standards. The policy has
brought together students from different cultural and racial backgrounds. As a
result, they have learned to work with people from diverse cultures, preparing
them for employment opportunities into diversified fields. The policies have
also helped to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor, by empowering the
low-class students and employees. However, the regulations have faced several
critics, who consider that affirmative action compromises academic standards
and make minority groups more complacent and less accountable. The government
should be advised to develop comprehensive regulations governing affirmative
action to benefit the target groups, hence improving their education and
employment prospects.