Destroying Hope


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Under misguided diversity pressures, colleges recruit many black students who are academically ill equipped. Very often, these students become quickly disillusioned, embarrassed and flunk out, or they’re steered into curricula that have little or no academic content, or professors practice affirmative-action grading. In any case, the 12 years of poor academic preparation is not repaired in four or five years of college. This is seen by the huge performance gap between blacks and whites on exams for graduate school admittance such as the GRE, MCAT and LSAT.

Is poor academic performance among blacks something immutable or pre-ordained? There is no evidence for such a claim. Let’s sample some evidence from earlier periods. In “Assumptions Versus History in Ethnic Education,” in Teachers College Record (1981), Dr. Thomas Sowell reports on academic achievement in some of New York city’s public schools. He compares test scores for sixth graders in Harlem schools with those in the predominantly white Lower East Side for April 1941 and December 1941.

In paragraph and word meaning, Harlem students, compared to Lower East Side students, scored equally or higher. In 1947 and 1951, Harlem third-graders in paragraph and word meaning, and arithmetic reasoning and computation scored about the same as — and in some cases, slightly higher, and in others, slightly lower than — their white Lower East Side counterparts.

Going back to an earlier era, Washington, D.C.’s Dunbar High School’s black students scored higher in citywide tests than any of the city’s white schools. In fact, from its founding in 1870 to 1955, most of Dunbar’s graduates went off to college.

Let’s return to the tale of the youngster at the Midwestern college. Recruiting this youngster to be a failure is cruel, psychologically damaging and an embarrassment for his family. But the campus hustlers might come to the aid of the student by convincing him that his academic failure is a result of white racism and Eurocentric values.

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  • tanstaafl

    The universe is not "fair", despite the efforts of the Democratic Party.

  • Radar in Va

    Walter Williams for President!!! He can have Thomas Sowell as his VP!!!

    I have learned more about economics from Walter and Thomas than all my Econ professors combined.

    • old white guy

      it is unfortunate that both of these brillant men are considered elderly. i believe thomas sowell is 80 and walter williams in his mid seventies. the truth of what they say is undeniable but the socialists have gained far too much control and it will require more than words to reverse the loss of freedom.

  • Jim C.

    It's true that "diversity" is a hollow value that can create unrealistic expectations for those who benefit from it.

    However it is clear that author is more interested in zinging "white" "leftists" (I'm sure the author has scientific proof of both appelations!) than in addressing the gross inequities in academic achievement and opportunities. Thus, this article gets an "F" for "frivolous" and "featherweight"

    • buzzard

      '"Frivolous and featherweight"? Bollocks.

      You might want to check spending on those inner city schools. I'm willing to bet it is above the national average. Check out school funding for DC, Detroit, Newark, or any other extremely benighted ghetto and you will see that the per pupil spending is very high.

      The education system is laughable, and Williams is rightly calling it on the sorry treatment is serves to black Americans.

      There are a lot of factors which contribute to the lack of performance in inner city schools, but I can assure you it is not a lack of funding.

    • fmobler

      Right on! If by "zinging" you mean calling them out on the tragic failure of their policies.

      It is hardly frivolous to point out that the education industry in this country has been a progressivist project for the last 40 years and that it has completely failed the very people it has claimed to be most concerned with helping. Things are the way they are. The "School of Ed" experts that have been pinching out public school teachers for two generations have failed.

  • old white guy

    i guess you folks don't like posts about action.

  • Simon

    This is so sad but so true. It's good to see this info in print as the NYT won't touch it. What happened to the dignified black families I remember from earlier days? Some are still around but a huge % of blacks are born into social chaos. Hence, academic difficulties.