This paper is based upon the argument present in issue 19 in the Taking Sides book. The book asks if affirmative action programs in public school admissions policies violate the fourteenth amendment. Not only will I prove how affirmative action policies violate the fourteenth amendment, I will illustrate how they hamper our academic community as a whole by allowing, and quite possibly condoning underachievement.
Affirmative action was and still is to some degree a government instituted policy. It became most noticeable in the 1960's civil rights movement that was designed to break down the barriers of segregation and exclusion against people of minority status. People of minority status encompassed a broad spectrum of individuals. During the 1960's when affirmative action policies were flourishing, the minorities were essentially those who were not white, male, and middle or upper class, but primarily those who were black. Those policies worked to desegregate and include minorities at a level that was inconceivable before the civil rights movement. But today there is a worth and necessity of the affirmative action policy to be reconsidered so that it provides a 21st century view on racial and ethnical related concerns in public schools.
Perhaps this paper should start out with some fundamental laws concerning the issue. According to the fourteenth amendment to the United States Constitution, "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." The Equal Protection Clause reads that "No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal Financial assistance.