In attempting to diversify schools, reformers claim discrimination when a test does not produce the desired racial composition of students (“Richard Carranza’s black and white approach is ruining city schools,” New York Post, Apr. 10). But different outcomes among different groups are not by itself proof of discrimination, which is known as “disparate impact.”
I’ve never understood why the issue ever arose. Disparities will always exist in outcomes that have nothing whatsoever to do with discrimination. They occur because people are different, regardless of race. Some students work harder than others. Some are simply smarter than others. Yet reformers refuse to accept this reality. They persist in seeing discrimination unless results conform to a predetermined pattern.
No race is a monolith. Just because blacks and Hispanics do not constitute the same percentage of students from other races does not mean prejudice is the reason. If anything, there is reverse prejudice at work. I’m thinking now of the suit against Harvard University filed by Asian students claiming that they are the victims of discrimination since they must score much higher on the SAT to be admitted than blacks and Hispanics.
Rather than blaming the messenger, reformers need to ask why blacks and Hispanics do not perform as well on tests. It’s likely that the test is not to blame.
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