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NPT UPDATE: Quintanilla, Marquez vote against changing college “Top10%” rule

Update: SB 175 just passed on 3rd reading 123-20.

Update: Marquez makes a statement: “HB 175 in its final form does not resolve the issues affecting our students. This bill says that instead of investing in our local universities and bringing them up to Tier One status, we are going to turn away some of our best and brightest students. These are students in our community who have done everything right and worked tirelessly to put themselves in a position to advance. I cannot let those students down and say that that hard work is not enough.

SB 175, which will allow UT Austin more discretion in how it picks its freshman class, passed overwhelmingly on 2nd reading last night in the Texas House. But two El Paso state reps, Quintanilla and Marquez, were among the 24 “no” votes.

“I cannot in good conscience support a bill that may deny any students in my district who achieved the highest honors her right to attend UT. This bill is harmful to students from the Segundo barrio in central El Paso; harmful to students from the colonias throughout El Paso county; harmful to students from agricultural rural communities; harmful to inner city students who live in communities populated by minorities. The University of Texas at Austin Board of Regents has the resources to solve this problem if it so desired without asking the legislature to their hard work for them,” said Quintanilla in a press release.

Currently, any student who graduates within the top ten percent of their high school class is automatically entitled to entry to UT Austin. However, UT argue that means they have increasingly little discretion in whom they let in as freshman. (81% of last years autumn enrollment were top ten percent students.) But many rural and minority state Reps argued last night that students in their districts benefit from the rule and would lose out without it.

(Here’s the unspoken logic behind the position: If you let UT decide who they let in, they’ll go for the posh Dallas/Houston kids who are likely to cut bigger checks as alumni, not the rural and/or minority students who might also ask for help with paying for textbooks or something equally as heinous.)

Back in March, Sen. Shapleigh voted against the bill also, as it left the Senate bound for the House.

“Top Ten Percent works well. At UT-Austin, 93 percent of all El Paso students who were admitted there in 2008 were admitted under Top Ten. Why change what works?” he said in a press release, March 25th.

Read Quintanilla’s press release after the jump. Shapliegh’s back from March follows on afterward.

For Immediate Release For More Information, Contact Robert Grijalva
May 25, 2009 512-463-0613
Cell: 915-227-5846

Quintanilla Votes No to Changing the Top Ten Rule

Austin, TX–State Rep. Chente Quintanilla today voted against SB 175 which altered the means by which top ten percent graduating seniors are accepted at Texas universities. The University of Texas at Austin provided evidence that the law passed by the late Honorable Irma Rangel was harmful to the future of the university.

“I wasn’t convinced by the argument that UT Austin put forth. I voted against this bill because it will be harmful to students in my district and in El Paso,” Quintanilla said. “The Texas legislature needs to increase top tier universities so that UT won’t be the only magnet. I also feel that there is nothing wrong with having the majority, no matter how high, of incoming freshmen who graduated in the top ten percent enrolled. That was their purpose in graduating with honors. They deserve to attend Texas’ main flagship school.”

The bill will set the bar at maintaining a 75 percent for top ten graduates and 25 percent for the admissions to approve.

“I cannot in good conscience support a bill that may deny any students in my district who achieved the highest honors her right to attend UT. This bill is harmful to students from the Segundo barrio in central El Paso; harmful to students from the colonias throughout El Paso county; harmful to students from agricultural rural communities; harmful to inner city students who live in communities populated by minorities. The University of Texas at Austin Board of Regents has the resources to solve this problem if it so desired without asking the legislature to their hard work for them,” said Quintanilla.

——

or Immediate Release

March 25, 2009

Senator Shapleigh releases statement on change to Top Ten Percent Rule

“Top Ten Percent works well. At UT-Austin, 93 percent of all El Paso
students who were admitted there in 2008 were admitted under Top Ten.
Why change what works?”

AUSTIN – Today, the Texas Senate passed SB 175, which would allow Texas
Universities to admit graduates in the top 10 percent of their
graduating high school class only until such students make up 50
percent of the incoming freshman class. Currently, the rule grants Texas
high school students automatic admission to any of Texas’ 35 public
universities if they graduate in the top 10 percent of their class. The
University of Texas at Austin is the only state university that would
currently be affected by this change.

Senator Shapleigh offered the following statement on his opposition to
changing the Top Ten Percent Rule:

“The Top Ten Percent Rule has ensured that all Texas students have an
equal opportunity of attending the Texas college of their choice.

With the rule, minority students, rural students and students from
smaller, poorer school districts would be put at a significant
disadvantage when competing against their more-affluent peers. This will
have a tremendous effect on students in El Paso. In 2008, 137 students
from El Paso enrolled at UT-Austin. Of those, 128 students were accepted
under the Top Ten Percent Rule.

Minority enrollment and geographical diversity at UT has increased
noticeably since the law was passed. UT-Austin records show that the
number of black students has gone from 1,353, or 3.7 percent of
undergraduates, in fall 1997 to 1,803, or 4.8 percent, in fall 2008. The
number of Hispanic students has risen from 5,234, or 14.2 percent of
undergraduates, to 6,766, or 18.1 percent.

The answer to high demand at schools like UT Austin and Texas A&M is
greater state investment to create tier-one universities. In California,
where state leaders invested in higher education quality since 1960,
nine universities are now tier-one, with a total of 184,000
undergraduates now attending those schools. Instead of crushing
students’ dreams of attending a top Texas college, we need to work to
create more top colleges for them to choose from.

Top Ten Percent works well. At UT-Austin, 93 percent of all El Paso
students who were admitted there in 2008 were admitted under Top Ten.
Why change what works?”

– End –

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Written by newspapertreeelpaso

May 26, 2009 at 8:23 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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