Black Education Disaster

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by Walter E. Williams: Changing



Harvard University
Professor Stephan Thernstrom’s recent essay, “Minorities in College
— Good News, But…,” in Minding the Campus (11/4/10), a website
sponsored by the New York-based Manhattan Institute, commented on
the results of the most recent National Assessment of Education
Progress test: The scores “mean that black students aged 17 do not
read with any greater facility than whites who are four years younger
and still in junior high. … Exactly the same glaring gaps appear
in NAEP’s tests of basic mathematics skills.”

asks, “If we put a randomly-selected group of 100 eighth-graders
and another of 100 twelfth-graders in a typical college, would we
expect the first group to perform as well as the second?” In other
words, is it reasonable to expect a college freshman of any race
with the equivalent of an eighth-grade education to compete successfully
with those having a twelfth-grade education?

SAT scores
confirm the poor education received by blacks. In 2009, average
SAT reading test scores were: whites (528), Asians (516) and blacks
(429). In math it was whites (536), Asians (587) and blacks (426).
Twelve years of fraudulent primary and secondary education received
by most blacks are not erased by four or five years of college.

This is evidenced
by examination scores taken for admission to graduate schools. In
2007, Graduate Record Examination verbal scores were: whites (493),
Asians (485) and blacks (395). The math portion scores were: whites
(562), Asians (617) and blacks (419). Scores on the LSAT in 2006,
for admission to law school, were: whites (152), Asians (152) and
blacks (142). In 2010, MCAT scores for admission to medical schools
were: whites (26), Asians (26) and blacks (21).

some of the response of the black community to efforts to do something
about fraudulent primary and secondary education? Voters in Washington,
D.C., might provide a partial answer. Mayor Adrian Fenty appointed
and backed Michelle Rhee as chancellor of D.C. Public Schools.

She fired large
numbers of ineffective teachers, most of whom were black, and fought
the teachers’ union. During her tenure, there were small gains made
in student test scores.

How did
all of this go over with Washington voters? Washington’s teachers’
union, as well as D.C.’s public-employee unions, spent massive amounts
of money campaigning against Fenty. Voters unseated him in the November
elections and with him went Chancellor Rhee. Fenty had other “faults”;
he didn’t play the racial patronage game that has become a part
of D.C.’s political landscape. The clear message given by D.C. voters
and teachers’ union is that any politician who’s willing to play
hardball in an effort to improve black education will be run out
of town.

The education
establishment’s solution is always more money; however, according
to a Washington Post article (4/6/2008), “The Real Cost Of Public
Schools,” written by Andrew J. Coulson, if we include its total
operating budget, teacher retirement, capital budget and federal
funding, the D.C. public schools spend $24,600 per student.

fraudulent black education is by no means unique; it’s duplicated
in one degree or another in most of our major cities. However, there
is a glimmer of hope in the increasing demand for charter schools
and educational vouchers. This movement is being fought tooth and
nail by an education establishment that fears the competition and
subsequent threats to their employment. The charter school and the
educational vouchers movement will help prevent parents and children
who care about education from being held hostage in an environment
hostile to the learning process. And there’s plenty of evidence
that children do better and parents are more pleased when they have
a measure of school choice.

The fact
that black youngsters trail their white counterparts by three or
four years becomes even more grim when we recognize that the education
white youngsters receive is nothing to write home about.

to the recently released Program for International Student Assessment
exam, our 15-year-olds rank 25th among 34 industrialized nations
in math and 14th in reading.

21, 2010

E. Williams is the John M. Olin distinguished professor of economics
at George Mason University, and a nationally syndicated columnist.
To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other
Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators
Syndicate web page

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