From the New York Daily News opinion section (of the two tabloids in New York, the Post leans right and the Daily News left):
What the gifted education fight is really about
By DAVID KIRKLAND
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS |
SEP 20, 2019 | 10:00 AM
As a member of New York City’s School Diversity Advisory Group, I feel compelled to say something blunt about those attacking one of the core recommendations of our recent report. Criticisms of the panel’s call to rethink gifted education in the city are not about children. They’re about race.
The plain fact is that, in a city where the predominant student population is black and Latinx, enrichment opportunities are skewed against children in these groups. Last year, 17% of kindergarteners in the city’s public schools were white; 39% of kindergarteners in the city’s gifted and talented education programs were. By contrast, 65% of kindergarteners were Latinx or black; just 18% were offered seats in G&T programs and schools.
Oddly, the word “Asian” doesn’t appear in this op-ed, even though the same report that Mr. Kirkland is getting his numbers from shows that Asians outnumber whites in NYC schools overall, 18% to 17%, and in share of Gifted and Talented, 42% to 39%:
Here’s the graph from Mr. Kirkland’s group’s own report:
Yet some white commentators see this statistical disconnect as somehow natural, and the desire to confront it as somehow contrary to the notion of a meritocracy.
In its desire to address “the legacy of racism, together with a false meritocracy in America today that keeps children trapped where they are,” George Packer, a staff writer for the Atlantic, accused the Department of Education of playing identity politics. …
When you read his article closely, you realized that, by “families of all races,” Packer really means white families.
This is consistent with much of the opposition to the advisory group’s recommendation to rethink gifted education and otherwise do away with screened admission that limits choices for black and Latinx people. Though cloaked in language that attempts to make the focus on race less obvious, it boils down to a defense of systems that have unfairly and disproportionately benefited whites for generations.
For example, New York Post staff writers Julia Marsh and Selim Algar quote a parent named Lianne saying, “I’m one of those middle-class families that’s on the fence about moving out of New York because I have a son that I’m now applying to middle school and I have no faith that he’ll get into a good school…Do you want to lose families like me?”
Why would a school system value retaining families at the expense of families in the system who have nowhere else to go? This concern suggests that white children naturally deserve exception and, by virtue of that exceptionalism, separate spaces in which to learn.
It also plays on stereotypes that black and brown bodies, in contrast to a middle-class white norm, somehow lack virtue and merit or other fictive devices employed to legitimate the lies that uphold separate and unequal education.
… This is a modern-day-eugenics project — one manufactured based on spurious science and reinforced by institutional consent. …
Kirkland is the executive director of the NYU Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools, and professor of urban education at New York University.
It’s hard to argue with their logic (just with their facts).
It would be interesting if National Book Award winner George Packer, the son of two Stanford professors, came out and said, “Actually … my kids are smarter.” But he seems like a dedicated dad who doesn’t want to have his career canceled, which would have detrimental effects on his children’s lives. So he’s trying to finesse this.
But the Left is increasingly gearing up for demanding total surrender on the part of white parents like Packer.