Blowback against School District’s racist policy

The Philadelphia School District’s racist reorganization of admission to elite schools is biting its own tail.

The once-elite Central High School

After my column calling  the district out for a policy that was supposed to capture the unicorn of “equity,” but instead harmed qualified whites and Asians, even the “anti-racist” (its promised direction, according to the publisher) Philadelphia Inquirer had to admit in a Page One story that the new policy was screwed up and harming those it was designed to elevate.

My column, published on my blog and in the Philadelphia Weekly,  asked questions about why entrance exams were being dropped in favor of a whack “lottery system.” The School District had no reply. It doesn’t like answering uncomfortable questions. Such as why the policy was needed, who would benefit and what the district meant when it said the current (Asian heavy) enrollment sent the “wrong message”? 

In 2020, the ratio of Central High School’s 2,400 students was 38.7% Asian, 28.3% white, 19.6% Black,7.5% Hispanic, and 6.5% multiracial. The District itself is 52% Black, 22% Hispanic, 13% white, 7% Asian, 5% other.

If Central’s was the wrong ratio, I asked, what is the right ratio?  I got no reply and the District never admitted it was looking at race, but its motives were nakedly obvious. I call it an Asian Removal Program.

I pointed out that 70% of the District’s teachers are white and asked if that was sending the “wrong message”?

About the same time my column appeared — surprise of all surprises — the Inquirer did publish an op-ed from former city solicitor Sozi Pedro Tulante, with a headline that said the new policy “may keep out the very students leaders aim to attract.” Well, that’s a smack in the head.  

His focus was not the same as mine — he hid from the race angle — but said the new policy harmed children in five ways, including the insane controversial idea to add zip codes into the mix. (Why insane controversial? Because some zip codes with low-income families, also embrace the richest — such as West Philly’s 19104.)

In case you don’t get the drift, the insane controversial racist policy was driven by progressives trying to create an “equity” between smart, hard-working students, and dumb, lazy droogs. Sorry, there is no “equity” in who gets a high IQ. Some hit the genetic lottery, others don’t. But hard work will always triumph over smart-but-lazy.

I am not saying poor kids are dumb. I was poor and I came from a bad zip code. Currently in my (Asian heavy) elite New York City high school — Stuyvesant — almost two-thirds of the students are entitled to free lunches, and the school, as always, is heavy in immigrants. 

It was 60% Jewish when I was there. It is 60 Asian now. The class president is Asian. The principal is Asian. I don’t give a rat’s ass about that. All I care about is are they qualified? Did they earn their seat at the table?

Mayor Bill de Blasio tried to wreck the entrance requirements and failed, but it has happened elsewhere.

I understand that many “progressives” believe “merit” is “racist” and “dangerous,” as you can see in this Newsweek opinion piece.  

It is another of the insane fantastic ideas that come from the Loony Left, a subdivision of the Democratic Party.

Somehow, amid the “racism,” many notable Blacks attended, such as State Sen. Sharif Street, Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Robert C. Nix, first Black Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Raymond Pace Alexander, DJ King Britt, musicians Duane and Robin Eubanks, even the disgraced former D.A. Seth Williams and Bill Cosby.

So how “racist” is the system, really?

Are the District’s teachers overwhelmingly white because of racism, or some other factor?

School Superintendent William Hite said some “bumps” were to be expected, but said “the basis for the process is right in terms of creating more opportunities for young people.”

Wrong. “More” opportunities were not created. What has been changed is the face of the students being offered the opportunities.

In a laughable irony, Mitchell Orenstein, described by the Inquirer as the leader of Philadelphians for Excellent Schools, a group created to advance admissions changes, calls those changes “cruel and inept.” 

And if his daughter — currently a student at the elite Masterman school — does not get placed in any of her choices, going to her neighborhood school — Benjamin Franklin — is no-no.

“My kid would never in a million years go to Ben Franklin,” said the leader of a pro-public education group. 

A Drexel education prof dedicated to public education hinted she’d probably pull her kids out of public education if they don’t get into a good school, of which there are few. 

Some seem to believe that in education the racial enrollment of the elite schools must reflect that of the city. Shall we apply that to the Philadelphia 76ers or the Flyers? It’s not a joke — those teams select on merit irrespective of race. Our elite schools should do the same. 

The School District — viewing everything through the warped prism of race — found a problem where none existed.

In trying to fix the non-existent problem, it created a real one, and will probably add to the white (and yellow) flight from public schools.

6 thoughts on “Blowback against School District’s racist policy”

  1. I want to compliment you, Stu, for your bravery in publicly opposing the woke status quo. Such coherent push-back from inside the ranks of ‘The Left’ is the only way to slowly turn around the battleship of radical Progressive Democrat philosophy that has taken over the mainstream media, public school system, etc. in this country.

  2. Philadelphia schools… in a race to the bottom.

    There was a time — in my lifetime — when our nation rewarded those with drive, intelligence, and ambition.
    Apparently now we fear them, and so separate them from the herd and geld them. It’s called ‘the quota system. Don’t let anyone tell you it is not.

  3. Excellent article. This is one of the many reasons why public education in Philadelphia is so poor. Students that don’t “buy in” to the educational process destroy it for those who do wish to perform to the best of their ability. Only motivated children, regardless of ability, create good schools.

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