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Commentary

Program Addresses Disparities

January 26, 2002

"Race, Not Equity, Is Behind the UC System's 4% Rule," by Roger Arnold (Voices, Jan. 19), could lead readers to the mistaken conclusion that high-achieving students are being refused admission to the University of California due to the Eligibility in Local Context program, our 2-year-old program to admit the highest academic achievers from each high school. ELC supplements our existing statewide eligibility criteria rather than replacing them. High-achieving students from any school who meet our basic, well-defined academic criteria still will get into the UC. The ELC program was initiated to expand opportunity to a greater number of deserving students rather than constrict it.

ELC extends UC eligibility to the top 4% of students in each participating high school's graduating class, based on their grades only in UC-required college preparatory courses. High-achieving students who may have once been overlooked--due to attendance at an underfunded urban or rural high school or a neglected suburban high school--will have a clearer path to the UC.

California's best schools produce students with strong academic records, and the UC will pursue these students as eagerly as before. However, ELC says to students in all schools that high achievement will be rewarded. ELC expands opportunities for every student and strengthens our commitment to California high schools, while keeping our rigorous standards intact.

Dennis J. Galligani

Associate Vice President

University of California

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The poor little "Erica" whom Arnold evokes so eloquently needs to step up to the plate and try a little harder. Maybe if she can't cut it at schools like San Marino or Beverly Hills High she can move across the railroad tracks to Washington Prep High or Garfield, where perhaps the educational opportunities are not as rosy but the competition is equally fierce.

Like a drunk who can't let go of the bottle, Arnold lobbies for the inclusion of the SAT in a last-ditch effort to save the Ericas of the world. The SAT scores, just like hyperinflated GPAs over 4.0, are also relative to the educational opportunities available in the community. I would like to believe the goal of the UC system is to educate the professionals of tomorrow and not just those who attend schools with a "high percentage of high achievers."

The 4% rules sounds like an honest effort to address the disparate educational opportunities each student must face.

Alexandro Villanueva

Los Angeles

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