The fixation on equity is a loser for all concerned.
At the same time that the indoctrination of American students continues to work its way through the schools, its evil twin “equity” is advancing right along with it. As the race-obsessed Ibram X. Kendi explains, equity exists when “two or more racial groups are standing on a relatively equal footing.” In other words, if 10 percent of white kids are in a school’s gifted program, equity demands that 10 percent of black kids are also included. Kendi also claims, “There is no such thing as a nonracist or race-neutral policy.” The terms “equality” and “quality” are nowhere to be found in the equity playbook.
The gaslighting here is palpable. What Kendi is apparently saying is that we must discriminate to put an end to (alleged) discrimination. But, insane or not, this is what is happening throughout much of the country. In reliably woke San Francisco, the top-rated Lowell High School will no longer admit students based on their academic performance. Instead, the school will use a lottery to admit its students. This will, of course, discriminate against Asian students who make up 50.6 percent of its student body.
Similarly, in New York City, the gifted and talented program has been deemed unfair. Mayor Bill de Blasio and his equally reprehensible schools chancellor Richard Carranza insist that the testing program is unjust because the students who wind up in the program “don’t reflect the diversity of the city’s population.”
In Fairfax County, VA, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science, a school for the gifted, was ranked America’s No. 1 high school last year by U.S. News and World Report. But the school board recently decided to eliminate the race-blind, merit-based admissions tests to the largely Asian school, arguing that high test performance was a “barrier” to black and Hispanic students.
As dedicated followers of Critical Race Theory, the equity mob also finds a racial angle in areas unimagined until recently. In Oregon, those in charge with running – and now ruining – public education have decided that focusing on finding the right answer in math “and showing your work” is a symbol of white supremacy. Teachers are also urged to adapt homework policies to fit the needs of students of color and “challenge the ways that math is used to uphold capitalist, imperialist, and racist views.”
Just last week Fox News reported that William Shakespeare is on his way to cancellation. A bunch of equity-obsessed English literature teachers told the School Library Journal that the Bard of Avon has promoted “misogyny, racism, homophobia, classism, anti-Semitism, and misogynoir (discrimination against black women)” in his writing. Jeffrey Austin, head of a Michigan high school’s English literature department, insists that teachers should “challenge the whiteness” of the assumption that Shakespeare’s works are “universal.” Washington state public school teacher Claire Bruncke has banished the Bard from her classroom in order to “stray from centering the narrative of white, cisgender, heterosexual men.”
Additionally, equity punishes the very people it claims to help.
As law professor Gail Heriot writes, one consequence of race-preferential policies is that minority students tend to enroll in colleges and universities where their academic credentials put them near the bottom of the class. “While academically gifted under-represented minority students are hardly rare, there are not enough to satisfy the demand of top schools. When the most prestigious schools relax their admissions policies in order to admit more minority students, they start a chain reaction, resulting in a substantial credentials gap at nearly all selective schools.”
In 1996, California passed Prop. 209, an initiative amending the state constitution to bar state schools from discriminating against, or granting preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin. All the usual suspects were in a frenzy. Accusations that Berkeley was now “lily-white” were commonplace. But as researcher Elizabeth Slattery writes, while minority students did drop from 58.6 percent of the student body to 48.7 percent at Berkeley, the others didn’t drop out. They went to institutions like UC-San Diego, UC-Riverside, and UC-Santa Cruz. These schools are all part of the University of California system, attended by only the top 12.5 percent of California high school graduates.
Slattery notes, “At UC-Riverside, the results were impressive: African-American and Hispanic student admissions skyrocketed by 42 percent and 31 percent, respectively. Failure rates collapsed, and grades improved.”
Ultimately, the equity fanatics are leading us to a world of stupid. Woke students may feel very good about themselves, but as adults, when they discover they can’t balance a checkbook, figure out the square footage of their house or know how many ounces in a pound, they will realize they have been shortchanged.
No human I know picks a doctor, lawyer or plumber based on skin color. Instead, we choose the best person to get a particular job done. If the equity crowd prevails, your freedom to do that will be stifled, and the worst sort of groupthink and tribalism will be the norm.
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Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers and the general public with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues. The views presented here are strictly his own.