Although diversity is a worthy objective in education, the No. 1 goal should be excellence. When we focus on the former over the latter, there will be unintended consequences (“DeBlasio’s school ‘diversity’ plan will be a progressive failure,” New York Post, May 2). New York City serves as a case in point, but it is not unique.
Until recently, all students there had to apply and be accepted to a middle school. Their status was determined by scores on the state exams. But because this criterion has resulted in a disproportionate number of white and Asian students, Mayor Bill DeBlasio wants to give priority to students who don’t meet the requirement. It includes students who score a 1, which is “well below proficient.” In short, the mayor wants to establish a racial quota system.
The unavoidable effect will be to force teachers to lower their instruction to the lowest achieving student. That might please their parents, but what about the other students? I’ll bet their parents will demand instruction geared to their needs. They might even pull their own children out and enroll them in private or religious schools. Depicting such parents as racist is outrageous.
I don’t think diversity and equity can simultaneously exist on a large scale. Any attempt to engineer diversity based on rigid quotas will invariably result in pushback. The closest we’ve come to that goal is some charter schools. But charters play by a completely different set of rules than traditional public schools.
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