Tags: Jeb Bush | Florida | black enrollment | affirmative action

WaPo Ties Drop in Blacks' College Enrollment to Jeb Bush Order in 2000

By    |   Tuesday, 07 Apr 2015 12:22 PM

A Washington Post story attempts to connect a 2000 executive order from GOP presidential candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush as it relates to an emerging dip in black enrollment at two of the Sunshine State's flagship public universities — the University of Florida and Florida State.

Amid several court challenges and Supreme Court reviews that left the issue still murky, Bush in 2000 became the nation's only governor to end affirmative action in public university admissions. He did so as, the Post said, after activist Ward Connerly began a program in Florida to collect signatures to place a constitutional amendment ending affirmative action on the state ballot.

Bush said at the time that he hoped his "One Florida Initiative" would keep the state from entering a battle over the issue, the Post said.

Under Bush's plan, top 20 graduates from state high schools are guaranteed admissions in the state's 11 public universities. Noted the Post of the numbers: "At the time Bush enacted the policy, black students made up 18 percent of all freshmen at Florida colleges. That had dropped to 15 percent by 2009."

The idea behind Bush's executive order on affirmative action was not novel. Seven states have banned such racial preferences via referendums. And as recently as 2014, the Supreme Court has weighed in on the issue, upholding a ban on affirmative action in admissions by a solid vote of 6-2, US News & World Report noted.

Its ruling upheld a 2006 Michigan voter referendum, which passed with 58 percent of voter support, that said preferential admissions based on ethnicity or national origin, gender or race, were wrong, Politico noted.

The Post story suggests that after Bush's actions more than a decade ago black enrollment declined at the two schools, even as more black students moved from UF and FSU to attend lesser known schools "which are in larger cities and have less stringent admissions requirements."

But, state officials pointed out to the Post that the drop-off in black enrollments occurred after 2010 — "when changes to the way the U.S. Education Department classified race made it more likely for minorities to identify as Hispanic or 'multiple race.' "

Bush declined to comment for the story.

Wrote the Post: "The growth in minority enrollment that Bush now points to is primarily a result of the state's booming Hispanic population, which has led to a large increase in the share of Hispanic students attending Florida colleges. Between 2000 and 2013, the numbers of Hispanics, African-Americans and members of other ethnic groups rose as the state university system got much bigger, with freshman enrollment up 35 percent."

It added: "As a proportion of the overall student population, black enrollment has declined — most notably at UF and FSU. At the time Bush enacted the policy, black students made up 18 percent of all freshmen at Florida colleges. That had dropped to 15 percent by 2009."

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A Washington Post story attempts to connect a 2000 executive order from GOP presidential candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush as it relates to an emerging dip in black enrollment at two of the Sunshine State's flagship public universities.
Jeb Bush, Florida, black enrollment, affirmative action
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2015-22-07
Tuesday, 07 Apr 2015 12:22 PM
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