The diversity obsession in education

Despite the best efforts of schools to narrow the achievement gap between whites and Asians on one side and blacks and Hispanics on the other, it persists (“The Cost of America’s Cultural Revolution,” City Journal, Dec. 9).  This has led reformers to argue that racism is the cause.

In New York City, for example, admission to the system’s elite high schools is based solely on a standardized test.  But because so few blacks and Hispanics score well, reformers want to eliminate the test.  This will allow more students from these two groups to enroll, but at what cost?

Diversity is a worthy goal, but it unintentionally hurts students who are not prepared to handle rigorous academic work. Students lacking academic wherewithal would be far better served with a vocational curriculum. There is nothing inferior about vocational education.

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4 Replies to “The diversity obsession in education”

  1. This topic is so layered and complex.
    Every person who has children wants them to be the best they can be. In America, we have been sold a bill of goods that says College Education at the top of the list. Something to aim for. If not in America, where? Well, if everybody goes to college, who will work in plants and factories making all the things people need to live? Wait, what’s that tiny hand I see waving in the back…? America has allowed its great manufacturing industry to find new homes in countries less regulated, where workers don’t demand as much and goods can be produced cheaper, you say?
    I just read an article that posits college graduates are fast losing their interest in working for the big tech companies. Turns out that as those companies have matured, they have become as tainted and brutal as any other. Maybe the near future will indeed see a large wave of plumbers, electricians, mechanics, technicians of all non-computer kinds and on and on.
    You are likely right in your support of vocational ed. You don’t need to convince me, but what is going to happen to all those starry-eyed parents with their eyes on degrees from THE colleges? Will they support their daughter training to own her own Plumbing company or to be a refrigerator repair woman?

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  2. dkhatt: Vocational education has never been accorded the respect it deserves. Just today, the New York Daily News ran a story about funding cuts to schools devoted to vocational education because they don’t meet the new guidelines under the federal Perkins law. Yet funding continues to schools that do littl to prepare students for life after graduation. It’s a national scandal.

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  3. Re diversity — Where are the voices demanding diversity on high school and college basketball teams? Whites, Hispanics and particularly Asians are rarely (probably never) in proportional numbers in the starting line-ups for basketball teams at mixed-race schools. There is a huge racial achievement gap re high school and college basketball teams with blacks “scoring” much, much higher than other races. Perhaps all those high school and college basketball coaches are prejudiced in favor of blacks and against whites, Hispanics and Asians? What is govt doing to change the standards that those coaches use to select team members and starting-line-up members so that there will be more Asians on those teams and in those starting line-ups?

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  4. Labor Lawyer: I’ve asked that same question often and have yet to receive a satisfactory answer. The usual response is that athletics use a more objective yardstick than academics. For example, how fast an athlete can run or jump, whereas standardized tests are more subjective. I don’t buy that explanation.

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