Thursday, July 05, 2007

Education always trumps diversity

I've been pointing out what this Baltimore Sun columnist argues for quite some time: the educational problem our inner-city children face is not that they're not sitting next to enough white children -- as nice as that would be, I would bet my last dollar that, even if the Supreme Court hadn't ruled as it did last week, the current status quo is not going to change to any material degree anytime soon.  Rather, the main problem these children face is lousy schools and ineffective teachers.  The KIPP Ujima Academy in Baltimore is showing what these kids can do when given a good school with top teachers.

It appears Cheatham, like Mr. Banks, holds dear the principle of racial and ethnic diversity in schools. I hold it dear myself. Here's something else I hold dear: educating students.

Diversity is great. Education is better. (And for those who want to rewrite history, now is the time to point out that Brown v. Board of Education wasn't about diversity; it was about ending legal segregation that clearly violated the 14th Amendment.) Given the choice between diversity and education, I'd choose to educate students and let diversity be damned.

Baltimore's KIPP Academy charter school isn't all that racially diverse. According to the Web site www.mdreport, the school has two white students, two Hispanic students, one American Indian student and 305 black students. KIPP is an elementary/middle school with grades from fifth through eighth. In the 2006-2007 school year, nearly 83 percent of KIPP's eighth-graders passed the state assessment test in reading and over 98 percent passed the one in math, according to


Education always trumps diversity

Gregory Kane


Baltimore Sun, June 30, 2007\,0,7672242.column?coll=bal-local-columnists

It was the fall of 1968 when I walked into an elective class at City College called "Problems of Democracy." The man teaching the course was the incomparable Samuel L. Banks. I still remember what Banks - Mr. Banks to his City College students - said about racial diversity in schools.

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