Thomas Sowell, who is black, contends in his latest column that President Obama, who is black, and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who is black, are playing politics with education, “sacrificing the education of black students for Democratic votes.”
If there is one thing that people all across the ideological spectrum should be able to agree on, it is that better education is desperately needed by black youngsters, especially in the ghettos. For most, it is their one chance for a better life.
Among the few bright spots in a generally dismal picture of the education of black students are those successful charter schools or voucher schools to which many black parents try to get their children admitted. Some of these schools have not only reached but exceeded national norms, even when located in neighborhoods where the regular public schools lag far behind. …
… When the state of Louisiana decided to greatly expand the number of schools available to students by parental choice, rather than by the rigidities of the usual public-school system, Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department objected on grounds that this was at cross-purposes with the federal government’s racial-integration goals for the schools.
In short, Louisiana’s attempt to improve the education of children is subordinated by Holder to the federal government’s attempt to mix and match black and white students. …
… The truly despicable intervention by Attorney General Holder is his warning to schools against discipline policies that result in a higher proportion of minority students than white students being punished.
This racial-body-count method of determining whether there is discrimination by the schools might make sense if we were certain that there could be no differences in behavior that would explain the differences in punishment. But does any sane adult really believe that there cannot be any difference between the behavior of black boys and Asian girls, for example?
There is a lot of make-believe when it comes to racial issues, whether out of squeamishness, political correctness, or expediency. There is also a lot of deliberate racial polarization and attempts to promote a sense of grievance and fear among black voters in order to keep their votes in the Democrats’ column.
What makes this playing politics with school discipline so unconscionable is that a lack of discipline is one of the crushing handicaps in many ghetto schools. If 10 percent of the students in a classroom are disruptive, disrespectful, and violent, the chances of teaching the other 90 percent effectively are very low.