Even as a child picking sugar beets and potatoes as far away as North Dakota and Minnesota, Diana Saldana
hungered for college.
College was elusive for South Texas migrant children who harvested crops during the beginning weeks of school as most students plowed through spelling and math lessons.And, by traditional measures, the Scholastic Achievement Test and even, eventually the Law School Admission Test, Saldana
considered herself an unlikely candidate for selective colleges because of her
Yet Diana Saldana, third-generation migrant worker from Carrizo Springs, is now Diana Saldana
A 26 year-old University of Texas law graduate, she
journey from the fields to the courthouse with hard work, good grades and ambition.
I had a burning desire to go to college, so I worked hard and did well in class, Saldana said.it be funny, a standardized exam do not measure that..
In the aftermath of the Hopwood court decision which led to the demise of affirmative action in Texas higher education, academia is taking a hard look at the experiences of graduates like Saldana
- who succeed in college and the work force, but score low on standardized tests.
But this searching did not begin with Hopwood, the decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that barred race as a factor in college admissions in Texas, and Texas alone. (Mississippi and Louisiana, the other states that would be subject to the appellate court's reach, are under court orders that make Hopwood moot.).
The examination of the role of the standardized tests that are so decisive in admissions at selective colleges and professional schools comes as a 24-person commission begins its own review of Hopwood's restrictions on recruiting minority students.That commission was appointed last week by public and private universities.
University officials say Hopwood leaves Texas in the dunce corner as higher education nationwide fiercely competes for minority students.
, the third of six children raised by a single parent who do not finish high school, says her
ambition, persistence and hard work drove her
to reach for college at UT and then law school.
I missed a lot of school coming up.We were poor and my mom relied on me, my older sister and brother to work, Saldana said.We needed the money we earned in the flelds to survive during the year..
Poverty pushed Saldana
to the fields at age 10, and kept her
there up to her
second year of law school.
will be a strong advocate for an admissions process that de emphasizes standardized tests.
In my own case, someone somewhere looked beyond my SAT and LSAT.Someone had faith in me and I worked hard, she
said.That is how I made it..