Diversity schmiversity – let’s call the whole thing off

Thomas Sowell on the upcoming Supreme Court decision that will likely guide public school re-districting plans for the foreseeable future…

“…Some of the learned justices are pondering whether there is a “compelling” government interest in creating the educational and social benefits of racial “diversity.” If so, then supposedly it is OK to do to white kids today what the Supreme Court back in 1954 said could not be done to black kids — namely, assign children to schools according to their race.

What are those “compelling” benefits of “diversity”? They are as invisible as the proverbial emperor’s new clothes…”

Sowell cites several studies – one of them his own – which say there is no imperical evidence (meaning test scores) supporting the notion that diversity equals a better education.  I am sure he is right about that. No thinking person would ever claim that a white child will do better academically in school because she learns among black children.  Or vise-versa.


Am I  – how shall I say – ‘a better person’ because my rural Kentucky school system was integrated from my sixth-grade year onward in the early ’60′s?  I know that I am.

Will my children be ‘better people’ because they attended public schools that closely mirror the racial make-up of the community in which they live?  Damn straight.

Sowell, like too many others now-a-days, believe that the sole mission of our public schools is to provide book learnin’ and validate it all with test takin’.  I, and hopefully others, are still of the opinion that kids should learn other things – important things - at taxpayer expense; things they will not be tested on until they are long out of school.

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  1. Posted December 14, 2006 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    “Will my children be ‘better people’ because they attended public schools that closely mirror the racial make-up of the community in which they live? Damn straight.”

    Just to play Devil’s Advocate here: If your kids need to be bused to a school in a completely different neighborhood, then isn’t it probable that the school will *not* reflect the racial make-up of the community in which they actually live? In other words, if they really did live in a community that was racially diverse, then their neighborhood school would also already be racially diverse.

    Sure, there is a larger community that is more diverse, as a whole, but we do tend to self-segregate to some extent in real life.

  2. cwk
    Posted December 14, 2006 at 1:12 pm | Permalink


    I am among those that believe school should be about “book learnin’ and validating it all with test takin’ ”

    I prefer the finer points of my child’s education and socialization be left up to me and his mother, not some politcally motivated bureaucrat who would waste the valuable time my student spends with a professional educator, choking down said bureaucrat’s PC nonsense.

    Children would be much better served going to school in their own neighborhoods, with teachers and administrators who are their neighbors, who know their parents, that go to their churches, who they see
    at the local grocery store and on the sidewalk. Schools would then be community driven, not government driven, and I expect many of the problems that plauge modern schools would be much diminished.

  3. Posted December 14, 2006 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Of course, the issue is always whether there leaning in school, you no the important stuff like math, and grammar.

  4. The CA
    Posted December 14, 2006 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    How do those white folks in rural Montana or other places in the heartland where there are very few minorities make it in society without diversity? They must grow up to be lesser people.

    I have no problem with integration. I do have a problem with shipping people around in the name of an unproven theory. This hurts everyone involved, particularly those who are less well off economically who have trouble getting to school and back because of transportation problems and cannot participate in after school extracurricular activities for the same reason.

  5. Keith
    Posted December 15, 2006 at 1:46 am | Permalink


    I agree that you and I both are probably ‘better persons’ because our rural Kentucky school system but I think something more than just racial integration contributes to that. There’s a lot to be said for attending a school with your friends, neighbors, and in some cases even family members. Of course, living in Hodgenville, KY as we did, everyone in the town, if not the entire county, was either a friend, neighbor, or family member.

    By the way, one of the two cases the Supreme Court recently heard regarding racial quotas in school systems is Crystal Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education. Yep, that would be the same Jefferson County, Ky where I live. I’m not sure whether it’s due to the effect of racial quotas in our school system or whether it’s just the nature of school systems in a large city, but I can say this….while our schools may be a little more racially diverse than they would be without the quota system, overall our community is worse off for it due to the loss of that sense of community, at least at a neighborhood level, that we had as kids.

    As an example…of the dozen or so kids who live on our street only a couple attend, or have attended, the same school, be it elementary, middle, or high school. While some of this is due to personal choice (i.e. attendance of a parochial or private school) some is certainly due to the racial quota system, too. I think much of the reason why the neighborhood I live in doesn’t have that ‘Aycock neighborhood’ feel to it is due to the lack of ‘neighborhood’ schools. With our kids attending schools throughout the county, the kids and their parents are all going in different directions, rarely meeting even long enough to say hello. Things would certainly be different if all, or most, or our kids attended “neighborhood” schools.

  6. Posted December 15, 2006 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Valid points, all… especially from my brother in KY.

    Through choosing where we wanted to set up housekeeping – which is on the border between east and west Greensboro – our kids have not been force-bussed around the county in search of the diversity I speak of and for. It has occured naturally just by attending our ‘neighborhood schools’. (Although we chose Jones Spanish Immersion for my youngest two over Irving Park Elem.)

    I suppose this is what I am really wishing and hoping for here: For people (parents) to choose to integrate themselves through their housing choices.


    Our neighborhoods, for the most part, are stratified by the amount of people’s mortgages and/or their monthly rent. There are few places in Greensboro where lower income families can live alongside the better-off. We have that here in Aycock and that has always been our strength, I believe. (however “gentrification” is creeping in as we become a diversity-victim of our own success”).

    So I guess I am really just projecting in my post above: I want everyone to have what I’ve got. But, then again, you all are right: Diversity should not be achieved through a long bus ride if the parents don’t want to subject their kids to that daily grind.

    I just wish….

  7. Posted December 15, 2006 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    BTW JW – I got the joke.

  8. Posted December 15, 2006 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    You always do, my friend. You always do.

  9. Posted December 15, 2006 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Sowell is right on target with this article. Look at my blog post and my most recent post regarding neighborhood schools on my website. We can educate children in our neighborhood schools if the resources and supplies were there. I have already been on record in support of neighborhood schools as part of the early days of my 08 school board candidacy.

  10. The CA
    Posted December 16, 2006 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    “I suppose this is what I am really wishing and hoping for here: For people (parents) to choose to integrate themselves through their housing choices.”

    People are doing this- the divide is economics. Many middle and upper income minorities live in the same neighborhoods as middle and upper income whites without any problems. Forgotten in this discussion are lower income whites who also suffer because of bussing. It seems to me that the bigger stratification is due to lower income whites and minorities living in separate neighborhoods despite the efforts of some to assume that all whites have money and that this is an issue of rich white folks vs. poor black folks.

  11. jwg
    Posted December 17, 2006 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    As an additional aid in increasing integration, socialization and diversity, how would you feel about revoking the tax exempt status of any organization (religious or otherwise) whose membership does not reflect the diversity of the ‘larger’ community?

  12. Nathan
    Posted December 17, 2006 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    I’d be grateful if government schools would teach kids to read and write so they have a chance at a good education in spite of the state education system. This whole diversity argument is a sham. It’s designed to take our attention away from the fact that our state’s education establishment — any state’s education establishment — is a plum for the teachers’ unions and the politicians they support. The “progressive” politicians pour millions into a bankrupt education system and the beneficiaries of that system (not the kids) such as teachers, janitors, administrators, special program administrators pour millions into the coffers of these politicians.

    NC Sen. Fred Smith has been fighting this politically-motivated nonsense and believed that unless we make kids the priority — the TRUE priority — we’ll achieve nothing. We’ll have a diverse group of kids with high self-esteem who are as dumb as dirt.

    I’m with Sen. Smith. The way I see it, “diversity” is just another way for progressives to grab power.

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  1. [...] One thing all these blog comments have had in common is that they all make reference to North Carolina senator Fred Smith, extolling his virtues and praising his stance on a variety of issues. The comments are usually tied in to the topic of the post, but due to the repeated fawning over Smith I get the sense that they are little more than blog spam designed to build up Smith’s name recognition. A few recent examples of these comments may be found at Hoggards, Cone’s, and TheConAlt. Many more can be found by using a Google search. [...]