How the racist School District killed a good school

The diversity chickens are coming home to roost and diversity is destroying quality at Philadelphia’s top school — Julia R. Masterman.

Julia R. Masterman school

Using somewhat softer language, that is the conclusion of a group of Masterman parents who issued a 51-page report that begins this way:

“The Julia R. Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School is being systematically dismantled. Long established academic pathways have been severed and the school has been split in two. The long history of rigor and enriched curriculum is fading. The identity of the school and its purpose and mission are in disarray, leaving a fractured community.”

Fractured is a nice way of saying broken.

The report continues: 

 “Over the last decade, Masterman has consistently been ranked among the highest performing schools in the country while also being one of the most diverse. Additionally, about 40%  of its students are economically disadvantaged. Many come from immigrant families. Masterman has served its community by offering students from diverse backgrounds the opportunities they required to make meaningful progress in their advanced educational trajectories. Those hallmarks of a Masterman education are disappearing at the school.”

All this, and more, was reported in a Philadelphia Inquirer story that should not have been a surprise to anyone who understands cause and effect.

You allow in less qualified students and one of two things happen: 1- Standards are maintained and the unqualified (usually minority) students fail and get kicked out, and may suffer personal meltdowns; or, 2- Standards are lowered to accommodate the less talented or less energetic, damaging the school’s achievement levels.

Not to say I told you so, but I told you so in 2021 when the Philadelphia School District, for reasons of the dread DIE — diversity, inclusivity, equity — decided to eliminate testing for admission to Philadelphia’s elite schools.  Testing was, like, unfair to underachievers.

Anyone resisting the numbskull idea of dumbing down to equity was, of course (say it all together) “racist,” because that’s the only argument the DIE crowd has.

The parents’ report says the school has been harmed by giving preference to certain “under represented” zip codes. The report couches it in a nice way, saying extra staff needed to help the unqualified certain students was not available and that hurt the school.

Such staff would not be necessary if only qualified students were admitted.

The need for pushing diversity in Philadelphia schools is laughable. Students in the District are 48% Black, 22.9% Hispanic/Latino, 14.5% white, 9.6% Asian or Pacific Islander, 0.3% American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or other.

If you are going to play by the Woke DIE numbers, we need more Hawaiians and Alaskans for diversity. Manipulating ethnic enrollment is racism, straight up. It is racism despite what some believe are good intentions. This is the end result of handing out trophies for participating, rather than achieving.

Granted, the racial composition at Masterman does not dovetail with the District’s number. At Masterman, 39% of the students are white, 33% are Asian or Pacific Islander, 13% are Black, 5% are Hispanic, and 10% claim two or more races. It is still majority nonwhite (as if being white is a problem, which it is to the Woke who equate “whiteness” with guilt.) 

Without question, sometimes diversity is a good thing. If you are working on a big project, the more points of view, the better.

But if you are fielding a basketball team — well, how many white athletes suit up for the Sixers? 

Merit counts in athletics and merit should count in academics. Getting to the top requires skill and dedication, not a favored zip code.

The District has succeeded in ruining an excellent school — and I’m sure the same is true in the other quality schools  — and actually cheated superior students out of the quality education they deserve.

This was the predictable, if not desired result. It can be fixed if the blockheads who run the School District remove the DIE dunce caps from their heads, and revert to merit selection.

31 thoughts on “How the racist School District killed a good school”

  1. Stu,

    Thanks for having the courage to share this perspective which is under represented by the press. As a parent, it’s frustrating to see the solutions being applied to improve equity are destructive to academic standards, and rigor- especially to Masterman and Central High Schools.

  2. What’s happening to Masterman is in microcosm what’s destroying the nation. (And the military is being rotted from within in the same way.) Terrifying, actually, what is happening…and there seems to be no way to stop the madness.

  3. The proof of your column is when these students of diversity move on to the next level they will be accepted on the reputation of Mastermann school and will suddenly face the challenge of not being equal to other non-diversified students. The weakness of any kind of pushing diversity is to include young people who don’t have the tools or lower grade high marks to compete alongside those who excelled at each level of their schooling. The same in our colleges where the SATs are being waved as being racist thus pushing minority students into a higher level of education that should be at a community college or equal to begin their college voyage. How far into the future do those seeking full diversity in schooling reach their projected number or do they finally see the fallacy in their crusade pushing underqualified young minority students who carry a Mastermann resume but with a lower grasp of the curriculum of just for diversity lower the overall level of grade markings thus causing a class of underachieving, diversified dropouts.

  4. Instead of this, why not improve elementary schools? You can’t build a house without a solid foundation. Same with kids. You can’t slap a half assed education on them and expect them to excel in the real world.

  5. One way to combat this is to hit them in the wallet. My alma mater has fully bought into DEI and has also dropped the SAT requirement. It has also lost my not-inconsequential contributions and legacy donation. No, one person acting alone doesn’t do anything, but if enough do….

    1. As a matter of fact, I called my elite high school in NYC to ask where they stood. When they said they endorse testing and merits, I became a life member.
      Stuyvesant H.S. is about 60% Asian, and I have NO problem with that.

  6. My granddaughter went there from 5th to 8th grade and we were so proud when she got in because of it being one of the top high schools in the state. She only left because she got a half scholarship to Merion Mercy Academy.

  7. You are correct, this all started with participation trophies. Good thing you are not writing for the paper because you definitely would be suspended.

  8. Stu, Thanks again for telling it like it is ! The Philadelphia school system has always been a joke, and like everything else in the city, it is getting worse ! The problems are so deep rooted, that I don’t know if anyone can fix it. SHAME !

  9. stu, on a slightly lesser scale they did the same thing with dobbins tech. i think they went to a lottery system about 5 years ago. they were warned by alumni that they would ruin the school. and thats exactly what happened. inquirer did a story about dobbins approximately 6 months ago. violence, class disruptions, kids randomlywalking the halls while not attending class and a very unsafe environment for the kids who really want to learn. another philly disgrace!

    1. “Don’t raise the bridge…lower the river!” The Philadelphia School District call to action.

  10. Thanks for presenting both sides of the coin.
    It’s great to have dreams and goals.
    It’s a shame there are entitlements just for the sake of having entitlements without expectations and responsibilities.

  11. Not sure you can blame diversity for this. Actually, under Superintendent Hite, the percentage of students of African descent at Masterman dramatically dropped from 10% to 3%. I am hearing a different story and seeing different statistical data.

  12. When I went to Masterman in the mid 60s, you were usually invited by your principal to test for admission. It was a damn good school and I am so thankful that I attended. Even in 1964, diversity occurred naturally, and I have the school photos to prove it. I can name at least two African-American PhD‘s, one judge, an architect, and more than a handful of doctors, lawyers and scientists. To see what is happening to it now is heartbreaking. But everything seems to be Damned down in our society anymore.

  13. I find your post interesting. You are hearing a different story and seeing different statistical data, than the parents of the students in Masterman.

    Nothing like looking for different statistics to hide facts.

    1. I get the best stats I can online. On different days, you can get different results.
      You seem to be accusing me of cheating. How about being specific, and use your real name while you are about it, as I do.

      1. Never accused you of anything. My post was in response to Chandler Fosque.

        Not sure how it wound up where it did in the queue.

  14. I went to parochial grade school. In addition to my grades, I had to take an entrance exam (1972) Masterman was a junior high back then. I scored in the 95th percentile, so I got in. It’s a shame what they’re doing to the greatest school in Philadelphia history!

  15. This system was Broke,and Woke decades ago. The High academic High Schools should test. Schools like George Washington,people seem amazed that fights like this happen in a Farthest Northeast High School. I went to Archbishop Ryan, yeah it cost money, both my Father and Mother worked, along with what I could contribute. Schools need to be Diciplined at the 1st grade point, not when they get to Middle school, and High School. I feel I came out along with my classmates with a better education, because we had a good foundation. I probably couldn’t get into Central. I did Graduate, and I did go to college at night (LaSalle,and Temple) and it was on my dime. I got a good job with the city. My point being everybody can start with a good foundation. Parents need to be involved, but, I guess that’s in a perfect world. I did it for my child. Some do, we pay the price for the one’s who don’t.

Comments are closed.