“Complete 540,” North Carolina’s plan to complete the 540 loop around Raleigh, has made the U.S. Public Interest Research Group’s (PIRG) list of worst “highway boondoggles” for 2019. For the last five years, PIRG has published a list of what they call highway boondoggles, or major transportation projects that they argue cause more congestion and pollution at a high cost for state budgets.
The Complete 540 plan would build a six-lane highway seven miles south of downtown Raleigh to complete the 540 loop at a cost of over $2 billion. PIRG cites the Southern Environmental Law Center, which has filed a complaint against the project, saying it will create unplanned sprawl, damage wetlands and streams in the area, and destroy habitat for a federally-threatened mussel species. Read the report here.
A New Slant
Affirmative action policies have come under attack in recent years, most notably when the group Students for Fair Admissions brought a lawsuit against Harvard alleging discrimination against Asian-American applicants. A recent report from Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW) sheds new light on the debate.
CEW examined what would happen if the 200 most selective colleges and universities admitted students solely on test scores alone. They found that if those schools only admitted applicants with SAT scores over 1250, 53% of students would no longer be attending. But the most interesting finding is when they look at who those 53% of students are.
Of the students who scored below a 1250, few come from groups one might typically assume are benefitting from affirmative action. Only 27% of those students are either Black or Latino, and 8% are Asian. The majority, 57% of these students, are White. Additionally, over half of the students admitted with SAT scores below 1250 are from families with a median annual household income over $122,000, landing them in the top quartile of socioeconomic status among families with college-age children.
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