Writing in Forbes yesterday, the Goldwater Institute’s Clint Bolick argues that the Supreme Court’s ruling in Ricci v. DeStafano should result in renewed attention to education reform and the need to improve educational opportunities for all people:
“[The ruling] also brought the nation closer to an important day of reckoning. When blacks and Hispanics flunk examinations, the cause is less likely to be discrimination than the appalling educational conditions to which most economically disadvantaged black and Hispanic children are consigned. “Affirmative action” programs that leap-frog less-qualified minorities over more-qualified non-minorities sweep those systemic problems under the carpet. As such, race-based affirmative action programs perpetuate fraud upon the very groups they are designed to help. The fact that few minorities passed the examination should be a call for remedial action–not to throw out the test but to equip more minorities to pass it.”
There is encouraging evidence that aggressive education reforms can make a difference in leveling educational opportunities for minority children and their peers. Consider Florida’s success improving public education. Over the past decade, Florida has outpaced the nation in pushing real school reform—expanding school choice, strengthening the teacher workforce, and holding schools and students accountable for results. Florida’s minority students have made dramatic strides closing the achievement gap with the peers across the country.
We can improve the quality of our K-12 education system to create a society where children from all backgrounds have an opportunity to succeed. The question is whether our elected officials have the courage to take on the special interest groups that stand in the way of the reforms we need.