The Corner

WaPo‘s Problematic Op-Ed on Narrowing Racial Achievement Gaps

An op-ed in the Washington Post yesterday calls on K–12 schools to improve their racial and ethnic mixes in order to close academic achievement gaps — most specifically, that is, to help black students by making sure they go to schools with plenty of white students in them. It’s a fine op-ed, except for just a few problems: 

‐The terms “integration” and “segregation” are not defined, which is a problem since they are typically misdefined by liberals, as a matter of both law and policy.

‐There is no discussion of where the racial achievement gaps might come from, which is odd in a piece devoted to eliminating them. To be fair, probably the issue is avoided since it might require acknowledgment that a big part of the problem is cultural, especially out-of-wedlock birthrates and peer pressure that asserts working hard is “acting white,” and of course such an acknowledgement would be unthinkable.

‐Likewise, there’s no discussion of why or how “integration” would end these disparities, let alone much acknowledgment of significant evidence to the contrary.

‐There is a consistent conflation of race and income, as if, for example, all whites are rich and all blacks are poor.

‐There is no discussion of the legal problems with assigning students to schools on the basis of their skin color, let alone the moral and policy problems with doing so.

‐There is no discussion of the educational and economic costs of sending children to schools which are not the closest to them.

‐Finally — and this is likely a mistake by an editor rather than the author — there is no claim that the benefits of integration help white as well as black students, the jump-page headline to the contrary notwithstanding.

But, as I say, otherwise it’s a fine op-ed, and no doubt the Obama administration will take it to heart, which is the author’s avowed purpose in writing it.


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