Sen. Kamala Harris leaped upward in the polls by denouncing Joe Biden for opposing racial school busing in the 1970s, citing how she was bused in Berkeley as a child.
Harris has since doubled down on busing, stating:
I support busing. Listen, the schools of America are as segregated, if not more segregated today than when I was in elementary school. And we need to put every effort, including busing, into play to desegregate the schools….
Ironically, Harris’ old Berkeley school district has today, despite its high level of integration, the worst test-score racial gap in the United States, with its median black student testing at only the fifth percentile of its white students.
The School Revolution:... Best Price: $1.56 Buy New $8.99 (as of 01:35 EST - Details) As I pointed out in my 2016 Taki’s column “Crevasses in the Classroom,” a vast database assembled by Sean Reardon of Stanford’s Center for Education Policy Analysis demonstrates that the biggest racial divides in school achievement are found in highly liberal districts. By Reardon’s measure, the school districts with the biggest white-black gaps in test scores are: Berkeley, Calif., Chapel Hill, N.C., Evanston, Ill., Asheville, N.C., Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Ga., and University City, Mo., all intensely Democratic.
In Berkeley, which voted for Hillary 90–3 over Trump, the average white public school sixth grader scores at a grade equivalent of 8.3, or 30 percent of his way through ninth grade. That’s 2.8 grade levels above the national average for sixth graders of all races of 5.5.
In the Stanford database, the national average sixth grader represents grade level 5.5: i.e., this typical student starts sixth grade at grade level 5.0 and ends sixth grade at 6.0, so on average while in sixth grade he is at 5.5.
Reardon’s new 2019 paper doesn’t appear to spell out the national averages by race anywhere, but I estimate from his data that the average Asian sixth grader in the U.S. scores at 7.1 grade level or +1.6 school years better than the national average of 5.5.
Nationally, whites average 6.3 grade levels or +0.8 years above the national average, Hispanics 4.5 or –1.0 years, and blacks 4.1 or –1.4 grade levels worse than the typical student.
Nationally, the white-black gap in sixth grade is 2.2 years (and the less often discussed Asian-black gap is 3.0 years). The typical white sixth grader has a knowledge level equivalent to a nationally average seventh grader, while the typical black is at the level of an average fifth grader.
In contrast, Berkeley’s black sixth graders average 4.7 grade levels worse than its whites, or 1.9 years below the average student in the U.S. Their 3.6 is a half year worse than the national black average. Despite what Senator Harris implies, smugly progressive Berkeley is bad at educating black children, both relatively and absolutely.
In general, highly liberal school districts, whether in college towns, woke suburbs, or big cities, are worse for racial equality.
For example, rich and leftist San Francisco (where Hillary won 84–10) combines big race divides (a white-black gap of 3.7 years) with weak test scores.
Amusingly, San Francisco is the opposite of Frisco, Tex., a sprawling Dallas exurb that has grown from 33,000 to 188,000 in this century. In contrast to highly gay San Francisco, Frisco, the weekday home to the Dallas Cowboys, has been called “the Best Place to Raise an Athlete.”
40 Alternatives to Col... Best Price: $2.49 Buy New $4.95 (as of 04:15 EDT - Details) Ironically, while everybody in San Francisco hates when you call it by its unloved nickname “Frisco,” Republican-voting Frisco is much better at narrowing racial divides than is liberal San Francisco. Frisco has a white-black gap of only 1.4 years.
Frisco is San Francisco’s friendlier, less dysfunctional right-wing opposite. While San Francisco occupies perhaps the world’s most perfect spot for a city, Frisco is randomly plopped down on the prairie. San Francisco is an adult Disneyland with the lowest percentage of children of any city, while Frisco specializes in raising the next generation.
Frisco, which barely existed in 1990, now has 56,000 public school students, 48 percent white, 24 percent Asian, 14 percent Hispanic, and 11 percent black. This exurb 25 miles north of Dallas has, among school districts large enough to have reliable data, the nation’s highest black and Hispanic test scores.
Admittedly, Frisco is expensive by Texas standards, with the average house selling for about $400,000. In San Francisco, $400k might get you a corrugated metal shed in somebody’s backyard, but in Frisco it gets you 3,790 square feet.