My USA Today Op-Ed on Obama’s Racial Profiling in the Classroom


Education goals are getting resegregated

by James Bovard

States set lower standards for blacks.

Only 7% of black high school seniors are proficient in math, compared with 33% of white students, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress scores released Wednesday. The reading gap is larger.

The math achievement gap between black and white students hasn’t narrowed in nearly 10 years. As a result, in a radical departure from the No Child Left Behind Act, more than half the states have given up on race-blind standards, setting different goals for different groups of students.

Over the past several years, the Obama administration has pushed states to craft detailed short-term plans to cut the achievement gap between low-performing minorities and whites in half by 2018, abandoning the Bush administration’s goal of eliminating it. As a result, of the first 34 state plans approved by the Obama administration, 26 set different goals for different races and ethnicities of students.

The District of Columbia’s plan calls a 94% proficiency in math for white students a success while only expecting the same from 71% of black students. At Wilson Senior High, the goal is for 67% of black students and 95% of white students to pass standardized math tests by 2017.

Tennessee’s plan is to raise the passing rate for English 2 courses for white students to 81% by 2017, while the passing rate for black students is only 64%.

The feds sanctioned Minnesota’s plan to achieve 82% proficiency in 11th grade math for whites and 62% for blacks.

Alabama’s goals for the 2013-14 school year are for 92% of white third-graders and 79% of black third-graders to pass math. Tim Robinson, the father of two black schoolchildren, complained to The Tuscaloosa News, “I think having a low bar means they can just pass them on. I think it’s dumbing our race down and preparing our boys for prison.”

Dumbing down or not, the Obama racial double standards seem in one sense more honest than the Bush administration’s laughably failed goal that all groups of students be proficient by this year. But there is no more reason to expect schools to cut the achievement gap in half by 2017 than to believe that 2001’s NCLB law could close the gap by 2014.

Both Bush and Obama have set goals they know they can’t meet. In another sense, though, the Obama administration’s new racial double standards are a step backward. In its landmark 1954 decision Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court stressed that segregation could “generate a feeling of (black) inferiority … that may affect (children’s) hearts and minds in a way unlikely to ever be undone.”

The worst abuses of segregated schooling, struck down 50 years ago, were born of racism. It makes little difference to the victims that today’s segregated standards are being set with the best of intentions.

James Bovard, author of Attention Deficit Democracy, is finishing a book on abuses of power under President Obama. On Twitter – @jimbovard


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4 Responses to My USA Today Op-Ed on Obama’s Racial Profiling in the Classroom

  1. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit May 9, 2014 at 3:17 pm #

    Tim Robinson may well be right. Which then opens the floor to the question, “Tim, buddy, what are you doing about it to make sure your kids are in that passing percentage?”

    • Jim May 9, 2014 at 8:53 pm #

      If I had to wager, I would guess that Tim Robinson is a dutiful parent – certainly better than average.

  2. cheryl brown May 10, 2014 at 10:42 am #

    The parents at Hereford High School in northern Baltimore County, are fighting back. Check out their progress at “Hereford Works” on Facebook.
    HHS is the highest achieving STEM school, highly ranked in all educational criterion yet the newly Democrat appointed Superintendent Dallas Dance has decided to eliminate the 4×4 schedule which allows students to take more AP and advanced classes. He is creating mandatory educational standards which are less challenging but uniform throughout BCPS and had lied about his reasons why.

    Parents at HHS are mad as hell, organized, and retained legal counsel. We have radio, TV and print press. Please look it up. We are sick and tired of the government forcing change without imput. I am glad my children are done at BCPS now that Dallas Dance holds the whip.

    He is Barack O’Bama’s clone soldiering on the march to destroy achievement. His appointment by Governor Martin O’ Malley is suspect as Dance himself did not meet the basic criteria required to hold the superintendent position. His trespasses in corruption are emerging yet I believe you are better at researching the ties and whys …help us fight.

    • Jim May 10, 2014 at 10:51 pm #

      Thanks for the informative comment, Cheryl Brown. I am glad to hear folks are fighting back against the nonsense.

      All I know about Dallas Dance consists of his quote in a Balt. Sun article last September defending the botched rollout of Common Core:

      “Baltimore County Superintendent Dallas Dance acknowledged problems but expressed confidence the glitches would be worked out, and that teachers and students would adjust.

      “We are building the plane as we fly it,” he said, adding, “but let’s be clear our passengers are safe.”

      Sounds like a heckuva crash is coming….