Webster action was initially meant to protect African

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.

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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 based on 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 (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. (don’t quite understand..)

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 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 (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 (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 (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.