Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) — it’s the mantra repeated endlessly by virtually every significant institution in our country except, very recently, for the governments of a few red states. But with that sole exception, every institution you can think of, from universities, to major corporations, law firms, art museums, symphony orchestras, Hollywood, charitable NGOs, etc., etc., not to mention the federal government and all of the blue state governments — all of them are on fully on board. While the DEI concept might have a few nuances here and there, stripped to its basics it means one simple thing: we commit to having 13% or more of our high status positions (high paying jobs, executives, board of directors) be African Americans.
Let’s put aside for the moment whether such a commitment can be accomplished consistent with the law prohibiting discrimination in employment, and consider an even more basic question: Is it even physically possible for every significant institution in the country to accomplish this result at the same time? Where are the people going to come from to fill all the positions?
The problem is that there is a fundamental disconnect between two main planks in the progressive platform for our utopian future. In that platform, DEI is plank A. But plank B is that the black children must be forced to attend failing Democrat-run unionized public schools in big cities.
This disconnect sprang onto the front pages in the past few days when something called Project Baltimore analyzed some data from the Maryland Department of Education, and reported that there were 23 schools in the Baltimore City district where not a single student tested at the “proficient” level on the state math exam. From the Daily Caller, February 10:
In 23 Baltimore City Schools, zero students tested proficient in math in 2022, according to a report by Project Baltimore. Through an analysis of 150 Baltimore City Schools, 23 of them, including 10 high schools, eight elementary schools, three high schools and two middle schools, no students met math grade-level expectations, according to a report by Project Baltimore.
And it wasn’t just that 23 schools had not a single student testing proficient in math. More generally, only about 7% of the students from all of the schools met state math proficiency standards:
Approximately 7% of third through eighth graders at Baltimore City School met grade level expectations in Math in 2022, according to the Maryland State Department of Education.
And the results in reading were not much better. In many articles that I have found discussing this subject, absolutely nobody dares mention the race of the students. But here is a racial breakdown on the Baltimore City public schools from U.S. News: 75.7% black, 14.2% Hispanic, 7.5% white, and a tiny smattering of others. It’s completely obvious from the data that the Baltimore City schools are completely failing to get the black kids to learn basic reading and arithmetic.
Is it just Baltimore? Absolutely not. Throughout the country, the African American kids are heavily concentrated in Democrat-run cities with unionized public schools, and in every single case the schools are failing to teach the kids. Consider just a few examples:
Detroit. From Public School Review, September 15, 2022: “Detroit Schools: District Is Failing Its Students According To Test Scores. Dismal test scores have been released for Detroit public schools. The numbers show that not only are few Detroit students considered proficient in math and reading, but the improvement has also been nearly non-existent over the past decade in the city. . . . CNS News reports that according to the U.S. Department of Education, only seven percent of the eighth-graders in Detroit are considered proficient in reading. This figure comes from recent scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress test from 2011. To make matters worse, math scores for Detroit were even lower, with just four percent of Detroit eighth-graders scoring proficient on the national math examinations.” Detroit public school enrolment is 82% black, 13.6% Hispanic, and 2.4% white, with a handful of others.
Chicago. From the Daily Caller, February 14, 2023: “In 55 Chicago Public Schools, not one student met grade level expectations in either math or reading during the 2021-2022 school year, according to a Wirepoints report. Out of 649 Chicago Public Schools, 22 schools have zero students who met grade level expectations for reading while no students were proficient in math in 33 schools during the 2021-2022 school year, according to a Wirepoints report.” Chicago schools are 35.8% black, 46.5% Hispanic, and 11% white.
You can check out the data for essentially any big city school system, and the results will be the same.
In its article on Chicago, the Daily Caller found a comment from American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. She came up with the preposterous explanation of “Covid”:
“The bottom line is everyone suffered in the pandemic.. because of the pandemic,” Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said in October. “The disruption was everywhere, and it was bad regardless of whether schools were remote or in person. We are focused now on the urgent need to help kids recover and thrive.”
As long as these schools are the only option for most black kids, the odds that thousands of institutions professing their deep commitments to DEI can all meet their goals at the same time are about zero.