Seeing as it is the anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the topic of racial diversity in public schools has re-entered the news cycle. I will admit that I am no expert on this issue, but there is one thing that I don’t understand. Many claim that having a racially diverse classroom actually produces better educational results. I can believe that there is some truth to this statement, but by the way many speak it appears that they go as far as to believe that racial diversity is the most important factor in educating a child. They seem to suggest that if you have a high preforming school of all black students, you should forcefully integrate white students into it, even if that means hypothetical lower academic achievement. This is essentially what the Justice Department is saying when they attack popular school voucher programs in New Orleans. But this line of reasoning doesn’t make sense to me. Should the racial composition of a school really take priority over the academic quality of the school? And if diversity is essential for education because it exposes students to views different from their own, how do you explain liberal universities who outcast commencement speakers like Condoleezza Rice because she supported the Iraq War? What makes this case from Rutgers University especially interesting is the fact that Rice was a black woman who rose from Jim Crow to Secretary of State under George Bush. Talk about diverse.
Thomas Sowell had a good line about this sort of situation: “The next time a liberal complains about diversity in education, ask them how many conservatives are in their sociology department.”