When only 10 black students were admitted to Stuyvesant High School, one of New York City’s elite schools with a worldwide reputation for excellence, critics once again called for elimination of the standardized test that is the sole basis for enrollment (“This Year, Only 10 Black Students Got Into N.Y.C.’s Top High School,” The New York Times, Mar. 19.)
Diversity is indeed a worthy goal, but admitting students who lack the aptitude to compete with their classmates sets them up for failure. They then drop out, with their self-esteem severely damaged. Yet critics persist in demanding the admission of more black students in proportion to their number in New York City.
The best way to increase racial diversity in elite high schools is to begin working with black students early in their education. Waiting until they are in middle school is way too late.
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2 Replies to “Diversity obsession trumps academic wherewithal”
Waiting until kindergarten is probably too late — not just for black students but for all students who are growing up in lower-SES families. The higher-SES parents intuitively do things differently than the lower-SES parents from birth through kindergarten that gives the higher-SES kids a huge advantage over the lower-SES kids from the day they walk in the elementary school door. The middle-SES parents are, duh, somewhere in the middle re parenting and their kids likewise are somewhere in the middle when they start kindergarten.
Probably some of this is genetics. But, most of it is probably what happened to the kids day-in/day-out from birth through kindergarten. I know two high-SES white families who adopted babies of low-SES black mothers shortly after birth and raised the adopted kids in high-SES homes — both kids are now professionals.
Labor Lawyer: Intervention needs to start at birth rather than at kindergarten. Deficits are already apparent in the first few years of a child’s life. How much is genetic and how much is environmental is a continuing debate. Certainly waiting until middle school is way too late, which is why so many black students can’t pass the test for admission to elite schools.