Anti-racist school policies are misguided, writes AEI scholar Ian Rowe

USA Today:

The soft bigotry of anti-racist expectations is damaging to Black and white kids alike

Some key points: ·        

  • Instead of seeking educational excellence for all, school reformers have become fixated on erasing disparities, most frequently the underperformance of black children relative to their white classmates.
  • The problem… with this color-bound thinking is that achieving “equity” only allows a black student to reach an average white peer’s potential, not his or her own — maybe higher — potential. ·        
  • The American dream is premised on the idea that a young person can become an agent of her or his own destiny. This can only happen if vital mediating institutions like strong families, schools and faith-based organizations demand excellence, and shape the character of this rising generation to build self-sufficiency and resilience.
  • Let’s not adopt “anti-racist” agendas that actually plant the seeds of white superiority and black inferiority, instead of eliminating them. The antidote to inequity is not diminished expectations for all.
  • It is equal opportunity, and a belief in each person’s capacity for upward mobility, no matter their race, ethnicity or skin color.  

In the first semester of the 2019-20 school year, the San Diego Unified school district board discovered that 20% of black students had received a D or F grade. In comparison, 7% of white students earned the same failing marks. School officials decided that the 13% racial disparity was a function of systemic racism, requiring an “honest reckoning as a school district.”

In October, that “reckoning” led the San Diego board to vote unanimously to “interrupt these discriminatory grading practices.” Rather than attempt to replicate the factors empowering the 80% of black students who achieved passing grades, the board’s first action to “be an anti-racist school district” was to dumb down the grading system for all. Under the new protocols, all 106,000 San Diego students are no longer required to hand in their homework on time. Moreover, teachers are now prohibited from factoring a student’s classroom behavior when formulating an academic grade. 

Goal should be excellence for all 

Imagine how both black and white students and faculty will internalize the not-so-subtle message of this lowered standard. A local TV station interviewed a white 11th grade student who enthusiastically voted for these changes and explained why they were necessary for his disadvantaged peers: “…we are seeing that the inequities in our communities are so strong and it is not fair of us to put forth policies that only cater to the students that are able to meet these requirements.” 

Read the mission statement of virtually any educational organization, and you will likely find earnest language seeking to attain “equity” by “closing the racial achievement gap.” Instead of seeking educational excellence for all, school reformers have become fixated on erasing disparities, most frequently the underperformance of black children relative to their white classmates. The problem of course with this color-bound thinking is that achieving “equity” only allows a black student to reach a average white peer’s potential, not his or her own — maybe higher — potential.

More at USA Today

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