Public Administration Dilemma: Affirmative Action

Topic: Aspects of Education
Words: 284 Pages: 1

Affirmative action in public schools is a highly-debated topic that correlates with ethical, moral, and legal implications in which the inclusion of a particular group is to be prioritized. For example, multiple states employ a race-based affirmative action policy when enrolling individuals in public schools to minimize the division among certain demographics and to address social, economic, and cultural divisions. A scenario that will be discussed in a public administration [policy of shifting from a race-based affirmative action strategy to a neighborhood one.

The example is an illustration of a decision made in the city of Chicago. Admission systems now have reserved seats for individuals based on their location. Hence, the neighborhood and the possible socioeconomic disadvantage correlating with the place are being considered, while the race is a neutral characteristic (Dur et al., 2020). The decision is complex and has been perceived as both practical and unfair by the public. On the one hand, the shift addresses marginalized groups and considers such factors as income, street violence, and potential limitations when it comes to school attendance and academic success. On the other hand, it can be argued that under new circumstances, racial minorities are marginalized and denied specific opportunities.

It is challenging to determine whether the decision of the public administrators was facilitated by ethical, moral, or legal implications of the Michigan state. Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is the agency primarily affected by the change but also one that contributed to the new system to be implemented within the operation strategy. As a result, the school system has been reformed regarding admissions, priorities, and opportunities given to students from different backgrounds. The scenario imposes a question: Is the decision ethical, moral, or legal-based?


Dur, U., Pathak, P. A., & Sönmez, T. (2020). Explicit vs. statistical targeting in affirmative action: Theory and evidence from Chicago’s exam schools. Journal of Economic Theory, 187, 104996. Web.

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