Get working on fixing public schools, white people

I did not attend the Nikole Hannah-Jones event at Duke University last night, but the News & Observer story about it was striking.

“When it comes to your own children, all of a sudden your kids deserve more than other people’s kids. And I understand that. But I think if we’re actually going to believe in public schools and public good, sometimes we have to make decisions that are not just about us,” she said. “In a country build on racial caste, equality means those who have had unearned advantages have to give some of that up.”

Hannah-Jones said she didn’t have solutions. White people created the problem, she said, and it’s up to them to fix it.

“I don’t want you to leave feeling good,” she said. “I want you to leave feeling sick.”

Other than the involuntary (?) redistribution of wealth from those who have “unearned advantages” to those who don’t, Hannah-Jones’ strategy of relying on “white people” to fix the problem is not consistent with the notion that “white people” created systems designed to perpetuate their advantages.  Why would people who have benefitted from a system of “racial caste” have any interest in fixing the problem?  Doesn’t it perpetuate the cycle of dependency on whites that created the problem in the first place?  And, progressives, what is the “public good” and who gets to decide?

I recommend skipping the N&O article and reading her New York Times Magazine article on the politics of education in New York City.

Terry Stoops / Vice President for Research and Director of Education Studies

Terry Stoops is the Vice President for Research and Director of Education Studies at the John Locke Foundation. Before joining the Locke Foundation, he worked as the progra...

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