Lamenting Leftism

The Case for Allowing Minorities to Self-Segregate In Education 

In what sounds like a White supremacist’s dream come true, minorities are demanding self-segregation in education. And they should get it — but not because of racism. Because more freedom is never the wrong answer.

Polls have consistently shown that Black and Hispanic parents are more concerned about the health risks of in-person learning than White parents. A January 2022 Economist/YouGov poll shows half as many minorities preferred in-person only learning compared to Whites, and that twice as many wanted “mostly online” learning.

A recent Pew Research poll found nearly three times as many non-Whites wanted schooling to be online only.

But minority discontent with public education was a problem long before COVID. Parents of non-White students have long argued that public education does not account for cultural differences in students, that teachers lack diversity, that brown history is whitewashed, and that testing is standardized toward the White majority.

Maybe it’s time to give minority parents a choice.

For those advocating racial equity in education, segregation and freedom are hard to balance. On the one hand, an uncomfortable minority deserves every accommodation. On the other, remote learning has shown to have a disproportionately negative effect on minority students.

While it is endlessly entertaining to watch Liberals seesaw between racial pandering and the patronizing statism of their “government knows best” reassurances, the future of public education depends on moving away from unattainable metrics of “equity.” The answer is more freedom, not less.

Washington bureaucrats should not decide which taxpayers are allowed into taxpayer funded institutions. Nor should the government force students into institutions they don’t want to attend.

School choice solves that. And if remote learning is the choice, districts should give minorities that option. Black and Hispanic families should no more be forced to attend an all-White school than be forced to attend in person if they don’t believe that is best for their children.

But the reason Leftists oppose school choice is more complicated than that. 

Many grab the low hanging fruit of opposing school choice on the the grounds that it would merely pay for rich kids to attend private school. Nevermind that school choice or voucher programs would allow anyone to attend private school. A fair compromise is to take private school off the table. Keep publicly funded education publicly funded, and private school private.

The biggest obstacle is admitting that while minorities performed worse learning remotely than their White counterparts, that is also true of in-person learning.

A broken system won’t fix that. 

Minority parents who want more minority teachers or a curriculum that puts a greater emphasis on Black or Hispanic or Indigenous history should be able to move their children into schools that provide that, just as White parents with other priorities should be given the same options in educational mobility.

The problem for Leftists is optics. 

Ten percent fewer Black students graduate high school than their White counterparts. They are significantly more likely to be disciplined in school. They are two and a half times more likely to commit crimes as juveniles.

Reducing the number of minorities from in-person learning will have a noticeable effect on the educational outcomes of non-minorities. We know this because we know that people learn, and work, and live better among like-minded people. It’s why White students have been forced out of certain college buildings and banned from feminist gatherings. It’s why transgendered women can ban men — even if said men are there to fix their heaters. It’s why society deems it perfectly acceptable to discriminate against men with ride services like SheTaxi and Chariot for Women. It’s why Black students have demanded segregated dorms.

There is no denying that Asians would benefit from being around more Asians, not only for the cultural cohesion it provides, but for the academic outcomes it would foster. Asian students have a significantly higher mean IQ than other races, score higher on tests, and thus would see even greater rates of academic success if they were surrounded by a measurably smarter student body.

Brookings Institute

Why would the same not apply to other races? 

What if the problems minority parents complain about aren’t wholly unfounded? What if racial bias in public education is real? If food options fail to reflect a specific student’s cultural diet? If grammar is legitimately racist and IQ tests compare people from drastically different backgrounds and thus skew the results toward the “standard” (or majority) at the expense of the minority?

The solution, again, is freedom.

If minority students are being held back by majority White education standards, the opposite would hold true as well. Teaching Nigerian history may benefit the one student of Nigerian descent, but it would not necessarily benefit the blonde-haired students of Swedish descent.

Let parents enroll their students in education programs that cater to their specific needs, that understand their culture, and that create a positive social environment via cultural cohesion.

School choice makes that possible.

A return to educational segregation is not the future Martin Luther King dreamed about, but if it is what minority parents say they want, as taxpayers and members of this diverse society we call America, they should have it.

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