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Discrimination in Scholarship Offerings at PAHS

Original post made by Concerned Parent on Apr 13, 2007

The Palo Alto High School site lists scholarship availability, but what I found disturbing is that some are limited by race. I don't think the school district should be engaging in this type of discriminatory behavior. All scholarships should be open to all races. There may be academic or community service criteria, etc., but race should not be the controlling criteria.

Comments (26)

Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 13, 2007 at 6:26 pm

I believe the scholarships you are referring to are offered by private parties. The school district does not have control over the criteria and I think it makes sense to help the students that are eligible, find them.

Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of Ventura
on Apr 14, 2007 at 12:18 am

Well put, RS. But why should any of Palo Alto's "concerned parents" ask questions or get all the facts before trying to stir up trouble or controversy?

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 14, 2007 at 7:12 am

So if a scholarship was offered by a local White Citizen's Council only to blue eyed Aryans it would be O.K.?

Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 14, 2007 at 7:53 am

RS - You missed the point. A private party can obviously offer any scholarship they want. However, a private party should not be allowed to use the PAUSD website or College Counseling Center to promote scholarships with race based criteria. The school district does have control over it's website and College Counseling Center and should be held accountable. To do otherwise is to condone discrimination against some of the kids right here in our school district. It's not OK to promote discrimination against kids of any color.

Posted by Question then..., a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 14, 2007 at 9:24 am

Is it ok if the Girl Scouts want to offer a scholarship to ONLY women?

Why is it ok to discriminate by gender and not race? Neither should be allowed, according to your posts, "Concerned Parent".

There are thousands of scholarships available. I would hate to think that the College Counseling Center would turn away a scholarship opportunity that was only for African Americans or Asians or Hispanics or anyone. Equality and Equity are not the same.

**And of course this assumes that the scholarship is not coming from a hate group of some sort.

Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 14, 2007 at 9:41 am

It is not OK to discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender. None of the scholarships offered on the Paly site should be based on any of the aforementioned criteria. It is plain and simple discrimination to do so. Those private parties are free to offer the scholarships, but Palo Alto High School's College Counseling Center and the Paly website should not be promoting them.

Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 14, 2007 at 9:55 am

Basically I figure whomever is giving the money gets to choose.
There is a scholarship that goes out to the best male athlete, there is no female equivalent from that group. The people that hand it out are doing it to honor a male family member who was an athlete and died young. If one wants to look at this as wrong, then I think they are not taking the time to understand

Posted by Agreed, a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 14, 2007 at 10:06 am

I agree 100%, RS.

There are bigger and more important issues to focus on than whether or not someone wants to help out with Student X's college tuition.

I trust Paly's College Counseling Center completely. They're good people trying their best to help ALL students.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 14, 2007 at 12:44 pm

There are some situations where sexual accomodation is allowed. YThere are no situations where racial accomodation is allowed.

Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 14, 2007 at 5:19 pm

Personally I think this quote applies in this thread.

"This ability to better determine what someone should spend his own money for than he is is a form of arrogance that can lead to worse."

Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 14, 2007 at 8:25 pm

Racial discrimination cannot be justified by quotes. It's just plain wrong and has no place in our high school. Offering scholarships to kids should be celebrated, but not when the offering is based on racial criteria.

Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 14, 2007 at 9:20 pm

I was quoting walter from another thread where he made a good point that someone should not tell another how to spend his/her money.

When one offers criteria for determining eligiblity, the criteria is discriminating against someone.

If it's merit based, you are excluding the mentally impaired.
If it's athletically based, then you are excluding the physically impaired.

Sorry I can't rally around your flag. If someone wants to give purple kids money to go to college then more power to them. The more kids that have a chance at an education the better.

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 14, 2007 at 9:27 pm

The offices of the schools are not appropriate places to dispense racist materials.

Posted by Sad, a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 14, 2007 at 11:41 pm

Thank you, RS. I'd love for my mentally impaired child to be eligible for a scholarship, but the only "scholarships" available to such kids are taxpayers' support. My goal for my child is that she BECOME a taxpayer, which in itself will take investment by society to help her become independent and employable.

Posted by Draw the Line, a resident of Stanford
on Apr 15, 2007 at 5:46 pm

I don't care what anyone does in private with their money, they can set up a scholarship for white girls with blond hair and blue eyes, for all I care. But, I would strenuously object if this were sanctioned by our public school system.

Setting up scholarships, if they are true scholarships, means that there is something earned about it. Anything else unearned is a grant. Setting up a grant that is "approved" with tax dollars based on ability or interest or income level or education level of parent(s) or any other number of circumstances or proficiencies is one thing.

Setting it up on the basis of skin color is gross.

Sorry, gotta go with the fine line there. I think it is awful that kids raised in the same million dollar home by the same parents, one black, one white, get different treatment because of COLOR.

Posted by Rainbow, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Apr 15, 2007 at 6:29 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 15, 2007 at 7:49 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by !!!!!, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2007 at 8:49 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Random Question.., a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 15, 2007 at 8:52 pm

Just so I'm clear, some of you would want to eliminate scholarships based on race requirements?

So there will be fewer scholarships... and fewer kids could afford college. Great.

If someone wants to donate money that goes toward a gender, race, or creed, I'm ok with that, as long as it doesn't overflow into the "hate" category. I'm also ok if this happens in our local schools.

It's no wonder why more and more charter schools are popping up... just to not deal with issues like these.

Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of Ventura
on Apr 15, 2007 at 11:09 pm

There are SO many reasons that people create scholarships. We're talking about private money here. For example, my aunt passed away several years ago and an organization she belonged to established a scholarship in her honor. Recipients must live in the neighborhood where my aunt's organization is located. It's not Palo Alto, so I'm sorry to say that once again Palo Altans are being discriminated against!

People use money to help create the type of future they want. Scholarships for future teachers, doctors, nurses, engineers... and scholarships for the best and brightest... scholarships for the neediest... and scholarships intended to diversify academia. I'll bet the people who oppose this type of giving also oppose affirmative action. So you don't want the system to try to diversify itself, and you don't even want the public schools to tell those students that someone out there is willing to help them pay for college. Cry me a river!

The school should communicate information about any scholarship that is reflective of community values. So if there were a KKK scholarship, it need not be advertised. But despite the narrow views of certain reactionaries online here, I think most Palo Altans would be okay with the idea of (for example) a Latino business group trying to help Latino students; AND I think we're mostly behind the idea that the school is serving the interests of its students and its community by helping students find out about scholarships.

Posted by Draw the Line, a resident of Stanford
on Apr 16, 2007 at 7:47 am

So, to be clear, you would be ok with a scholarship for only at least a 1/4 Frenchman offered by businesses being advertised in our public school?

Being advertised by the Franco-American society, yes. Sanctioned by our public schools, no.

Not me.

Posted by Draw the Line, a resident of Stanford
on Apr 16, 2007 at 7:51 am

Remember, the difference we are talking about here is "publicly sanctioned" ie: advertised or promoted in our public institutions. The KKK can advertise for a white only scholarship in their little newspaper, I don't care, as long as there is no public sanction. I feel the same about any other color based "scholarships".

To assume one color or another needs extra help because of the "color" is insulting.

Refer to the Race thread a couple months ago for a complete reading list for why this kindly meant thinking does the opposite of helping the people we mean to help.

Posted by more info is better, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 16, 2007 at 10:13 am

Are these scholarships really being "sanctioned" by the school, or does the school offer the information that these scholarships exist? The easier it is for our students to know about all available scholarships, then the easier it is to find good fits for our diverse student body--whether it be on last name, religious affiliation, subject matter to be studied, race, gender, etc.

Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of Ventura
on Apr 16, 2007 at 11:54 am

re: the French example - absolutely no problem in my view.

So I take it you're okay with the school advising students about scholarships based on merit or need at least? What about scholarships based on a field of study? Or awarded based on some participation in a certain group? What about scholarships based on religion instead of "color"? Could the school tell its Jewish students about scholarships available to them through Jewish organizations? Ditto for any other religion. Do you have a problem with people trying to "help their own"? If the school withholds that information, isn't that potentially doing more harm than good?

You make a good point about children of different skin color raised in the same home. However, society is going to view those children differently, and they're going to have different experiences in this country as a result. I would hope that any organization would define its targeted scholarship candidates by more than skin color, but you can't make skin color irrelevant by wishing it were.

How about this - should the school advise students if there's a Boy Scouts of America college scholarship, even though the scholarship comes from a discriminatory organization?

Posted by Jim, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 16, 2007 at 12:36 pm

Discimnation is, by and large, a good thing. It allows us all to distinguish between one thing and another. For instance, we disciminate on the basis of grade point, SAT score, athletic accomplishment, etc. However, there are certain types of discimination that are proscibed by law and/or the courts. For instance affirmative action, based on race, has been declared illegal in many cases. The Boy Scout case is in the gray zone, I believe, because the BSA is a private organization; private organization are allowed certain leeway (e.g. moral concerns like homosexuality and religious belief).

This issue of disrimination will be with us for a very long time. I don't think we should burden the high schools with a judicial role. Let them list whatever scholarships are available (even racist ones, like "African American only"). If the courts find otherwise, fine.

Posted by Agreed, a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 16, 2007 at 7:14 pm

Well put, Jim.

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