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Racial-Affinity Calculus

I've recently offered to teach an AP Course in Jewish Studies at our local high school. It's designed to highlight the systematic racism that's occurred in the award of the Nobel prize. Yes, the Tribe wins it more than any other group, but we could and should win more!

Racial-Affinity Calculus

Progressives return to the days of ‘separate but equal’ education.

By The Editorial Board, WSJ

May 11, 2023 6:51 pm ET

Journal Editorial Report: Evanston, Ill., tries to dilute advance-placement qualifications. Images: Taylor Glascock for The Wall Street Journal

Twenty years ago George W. Bush struck a political chord by arguing that settling for low achievement in schools was “the soft bigotry of low expectations.” Today our educators are defining expectations down and lowering standards in the bargain.

School districts in California this year have cut honors classes because they didn’t enroll enough minority students. Colleges are dropping standardized tests for admissions. Now comes an Illinois high school that will offer Advanced Placement calculus classes specifically for black and “Latinx” students.

In its 2023-2024 course catalog, Evanston Township High School (ETHS) offered two AP calculus classes for racial affinity groups. The first was “restricted to students who identify as Latinx.” The second was open only to “students who identify as black.” When the race-exclusionary classes made headlines, the school tweaked the descriptions to say that “while open to all students, this optional section of the course is intended to support students who identify as Black.”

The tweaked language is intended to avoid a civil-rights lawsuit since the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 that a “separate but equal” education policy based on race is unconstitutional. We’ll see if that works as a legal dodge, but the clear and depressing message is that black and Hispanic students can’t achieve at the same level as white or Asian students. Will the standards for the calculus classes also be different based on race?

Evanston is covering here for the failure of its feeder schools along Chicago’s north shore. The roughly 3,000 students at ETHS come from three main middle schools, Dawes, Haven and Chute. According to the schools’ prepandemic Illinois Report Cards from 2018, at Chute Middle School, a dismal 23% of students are proficient in math. At Haven Middle School, 47% are proficient in math.

That’s a tragedy, and the failure extends back to grade schools, leaving black and Hispanic students at a disadvantage by the time they reach high school. But the solution isn’t to segregate by race and lower standards. It’s to create more choice for parents and students and then close those failing schools.

But educators don’t want to hear that because it would indict the union-progressive alliance that runs these K-12 schools. Instead they blame discrimination. A 2017 Equity Report for the Evanston K-8 school district said “the District’s leadership team attributes the racial predictability of achievement and disciplinary outcomes to institutional racism.”

It doesn’t have anything to do with the quality of education? According to data from Wirepoints, in Evanston District 65 that feeds ETHS, 32% of 8th grade students are reading at grade level, while 100% of district teachers are rated as “excellent or proficient” on the Illinois Report Card from the state Board of Education. So the teachers are great but the students are still failures?

If there’s any “systemic” racism in American education today, it is refusing to fix or close the failure factories that are too many K-12 schools. Who would have thought that, nearly 70 years after Brown v. Board, progressives would endorse “separate but equal” to cover for educational failure?

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