Lottery tinkering produces expected result | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Lottery tinkering produces expected result

Posted By on Sun, Nov 13, 2016 at 7:36 AM

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Michael Wickline of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports this morning the expected result of legislation stiffening requirements to receive a lottery scholarship — a decline in applications and awards.

Sen. Jimmy Hickey pushed to make a 19 ACT the requirement for a scholarship, rather than either a 19 ACT score or a 2.5 grade point. His legislation also reduced the first-year award, though increased amounts in subsequent college years for achieving students.

First thing Monday I'm going to check with the Higher Education Department on whether numbers exist on the racial makeup of scholarship recipients. It would be interesting to know, too, the relative income status of recipients.

As sure as night follows day, performance on standardized academic tests in America tend to follow income and race. If the lottery scholarships are disproportionately claimed by white people of moderate to upper income the scholarships become effectively an entitlement for a group already most likely to go to college, not to demographic groups that need it most.

Wickline's report follows yet another monthly report of essentially static lottery income — despite a high-dollar consulting contract with a politically connected firm. The lottery began in 2009. Its peak revenue year was 2012.

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