President Clinton goes to Uganda and makes a near apology for slavery. But Uganda had little to do with American slavery; most American slaves came from west Africa. Moreover, it was Africans and Arabs who sold slaves to Europeans. Strangely enough, Clinton and those doing the most moral posturing about last century's slavery ignore slavery right now in Mauritania and the Sudan. Clinton's "feeling our pain" and his race group talking up race does nothing for the real problems that stymy black progress. Clinton's agenda is to shore up political support among the black elite so they will guide their flock at the voting booth.
The average black person's interests lie elsewhere as suggested in a Los Angeles Times story (4/13/98) by Richard T. Cooper titled "College Rethinks Its Commitment to Serving Poor." Temple University's fall 1998 freshman class has a student who graduated from a Philadelphia high school with a near perfect grade-point average, excelled in extra curricular activities and was class valedictorian.
You say, "Williams, what's the beef? That sounds like excellent college material!" But here's the rest of the story. After having twice taken the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) for math and verbal skills, the young lady couldn't get a combined score of 600 out of a possible 1,600. A person gets 400 points simply for writing his name on the test sheet. The national average is slightly over 900 and Temple's 1997 freshman averaged 1,012. Neither 900 nor 1,000 is anything to write home about.
You ask, "How can a student with a near perfect grade-point average do so miserably on the SAT?" The best answer is that the student's high school grades were fraudulent. She was probably well-mannered, respectful, hard-working and helpful to teachers. The parents were probably proud of the good grades she "earned." So we can't put much blame on the student and parents. The cruel, callous villain of the piece is a public education establishment that produces fraudulent education and issues fraudulent diplomas. The student was deceived into thinking that he was academically competent. This deception differs little from a flight instructor certifying that a pilot can fly when he can't or military drill instructor certifying that a soldier is battle-ready when he's not. The only difference is the magnitude of the consequences of the deception.
Fraudulent education is the standard state of affairs for most black youngsters (it's not much better for whites). Despite this, black politicians, civil rights leaders, white liberals, and Clinton give government schools unquestioned support. Defenders argue that teachers and administrators cannot be held responsible for the gross sociological problems they encounter trying to teach kids from broken homes and violent, drug-infested neighborhoods. That's right; however, teachers and administrators have total control over what grades they give and diplomas issued.
Colleges cover up high school fraud by admitting black students who have little prospect of graduating. The reason is that a college president's success in fund-raising, talking legislators out of taxpayer money and avoiding political flack depends on "racial diversity" - having black bodies on campus. Whether those blacks graduate does not enter a president's self-serving calculation. In the case of Temple University, 90 percent of academically ill-prepared students, euphemized as "developmental students," fail to survive.
Clinton's proposal for more education dollars for smaller classes will not do anything but enrich the education establishment. There'll be no improvement until the average black parent says enough is enough and demands some form of school choice as a means to break a callous, deceptive education monopoly.
Walter E. Williams
April 21, 1998
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