Diversity obsession will destroy excellent schools

In a school system not noted for its overall quality, New York City can still be proud of eight exceptions.  But if Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chancellor Richard Carranza have their way, the eight top high schools will be undermined (“De Blasio’s war on excellent schools,” New York Post, Oct. 22).

The plan is to grant admission to the top seven percent of students in every public middle school in the name of diversity and equity.  The trouble is that some 318 students who don’t demonstrate basic proficiency in the eighth grade would get in.  What will happen is that these students will be placed in remedial classes or drop out.  There is no way they can compete with their more highly qualified classmates.

I understand the argument about diversity.  But all that should matter is the ability of students to do the work.  If that results in a student population that is disproportionately racially imbalanced, so be it.  I fail to see how we help students by enrolling them in classes far beyond their ability.  All we do is set them up for failure.

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3 Replies to “Diversity obsession will destroy excellent schools”

  1. The Dems gut the public schools in the name of diversity/lowest-common-denominator. The Republicans gut the public schools via charters/vouchers/”choice”. Both are playing to their political base. Neither is paying any attention to what actually improves academic outcomes for K-12 students, particularly in low-SES areas. I’d fault the Dems somewhat more than the Republicans since the Republicans were able to adopt their charters/vouchers/choice policies in large part because the Dems’ no-tracking/bussing policies did so much harm to the neighborhood public schools in the low-SES/inner-city areas. All very depressing.

    Seems obvious — to me — that effective K-12 school reform would focus on improving low-SES children’s home environment from birth through kindergarten, on reinstating tracking, and on improving behavior/discipline, particularly in the low-SES schools. Unfortunately, none of these are politically attractive.

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  2. Labor Lawyer: Wraparound services for disadvantaged children starting at birth are the best way of preparing them for success in school. Even then, however, not all will be able to hold their own against their more privileged peers. The worst thing to do is to admit unqualified students to elite schools in the name of diversity because that only sets them up for failure.

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