This thread continues a discussion from the recent thread about the ACLU, which unfortunately got buried under posts about the school prayer issue. The discussion in question was the claim, which I advanced, that forcing poor children to remain in public schools is particularly bad for black and Hispanic children. Two notes to clarify: I do not claim that all who oppose school vouchers are racist, only that the stance has unavoidable racist effects. Also, in this thread, “minority” will refer to races that are minorities in the USA, even if they aren’t minorities in every part of the country.
In our K-12 education system, parents with sufficient wealth can send their kids to private school. Poorer parents cannot afford to, and thus must send their kids to public schools. Private schools deliver a much better education, and minorities are on average substantially poorer than whites. Hence our system leads to de facto racial segregation in many places.
Racial differences between whites and minorities are not subtle, especially in big cities. For example, just look at Washington D. C., and its notorious worst-in-the-nation school system. The public school student body is 96% minority and 4% white.. By contrast, the city itself is 61% minority and 39% white. Or similarly in Baltimore, the public school student body is 88% black while the city is 32% white. In these places nearly all the white people send their kids to private schools, while minority kids mainly get stuck in the public schools.
So with that established, what about results? Well, for minority students in big cities, public school education basically sucks. In New York City, for instance, only 44% of blacks and 39% of Hispanics graduate from high school within 4 years of entering. Test scores also suck.
So, is there an alternative? Indeed, both vouchers and charter schools have a proven ability to address the problem by giving a better education to poor, minority students. For example, multiple studies have shown that black students in charter schools on average see their scores rise faster and approach closer to the scores of white students than those black students in public schools. (See pages 2 and 3 of this report.) In New York City, Catholic schools outperform public schools. (See the report in the previous paragraph.) And in Florida, the state which undertook the strongest statewide effort to bring accountability and school choice statewide starting in 1998, performance by blacks and Hispanics soared upward over the next ten years.
So, to conclude, our current system discriminates against poor, black and Hispanic students. School vouchers and charter schools have a proven ability to address this problem. Yet many people continue to fight these solutions.