One of my favorite Columnists is Walter Williams. In his most recent column at Townhall.com he discussed the Virginia General Assembly’s recent resolution stating their sense that slavery was a bad thing…duh!
The major thrust of Mr. Williams’ column I agree with wholeheartedly (as usual) but he made one statement that I felt the urge to address:
What about black education in Virginia? According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), black education is a disgrace. In 2003, 51 percent of black eighth-graders scored below basic; 49 percent at or above basic; of these, only 11 percent scored proficient. For black fourth-graders, the scores were 34, 66 and 13 percent, respectively.
The next time the Virginia General Assembly gets into an apologetic mood and wants to pass another resolution aimed at its black citizens, here are my suggestions: The Commonwealth of Virginia apologizes to its black citizens for…our government-sanctioned school system that delivers fraudulent education, thereby consigning many of its black citizens to the bottom rungs of the economic ladder.
I understand what he was getting at but I disagree with the tack he took. This is kind of a pet peeve of mine so I just had to comment.
I would agree that the public school system is in need of a major overhaul and is failing us as taxpayers and parents, but I take issue with the implication that the abysmal performance of black students is proof positive of disparities in the educational opportunities afforded students of the different races.
Both of my kids went to inner city, majority black Norfolk Schools. In fact, my son attended a “magnet” elementary school where, two years in a row, he was the only white student in his class.
At my son’s MIDDLE SCHOOL “graduation”, I was flabbergasted by the number of black parents who threw elaborate “graduation” celebrations, greeted the “graduates” with balloons and flowers, a couple even rented limos for the occasion. When I mentioned my incredulity over the ridiculous extravagance of parents for graduation from the 8th grade, another attendee sadly noted “this is the only graduation many of them will ever have”.
Both of my kids graduated from Granby high school with honors. At the ceremony, as the students filed in to the venue, you would have initially thought that the school was majority white…the first quarter of the students consisted of about 80% white faces…until checking the program and noting that honors graduates entered first as a group. When the remaining three quarters of the students filed in, the mass of black faces with a sprinkling of whites belied the initial impression.
My point is this: My kids had the same facilities, the same curricula, the same equipment, were in the same classrooms with the same (mostly black) teachers, and the same (mostly black) administrators as all of the black students in the Norfolk school system but they both graduated with honors, did well on the SATs and went on to be accepted to major universities.
So the problem obviously is NOT inequality in educational opportunity.
Is the problem that blacks are inherently inferior students? Nonsense. Blacks are every bit as intelligent and capable of academic excellence as whites if they apply themselves.
So what’s the problem? The problem is the inner-city “thug” culture where academic achievement is considered “selling out”; where proper grammar and respectable clothing are not things to be admired, but are activly derided; where professional sports, winning the lottery and illegal activity are the only acknowledged methods of achieving financial success.
No, the racial disparities in academic achievement do not stem primarily from the school systems, from the quality of education offered or the educational opportunities afforded. The problems lie in the corrupt culture of the black community. All the good intentions, legislative resolutions and money in the world can’t solve that problem. The only thing that can solve it is an acknowledgment in the black community that the culture is flawed and is the major cause of their problems. Until that realization occurs and major changes are made WITHIN THE COMMUNITY to correct it. The gaps will never close and will probably continue to widen.
“…[N]either the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.”