Thursday, April 07, 2005


Go Big Ed reported March 16 that there is a huge high-school graduation gap among the races in Nebraska: 90% of white students graduate, while only 53% of African-Americans do, and 50% of Latinos.

That’s in contrast to the fluffed-up graduation stats dished out by state ed officials, who “forget” to include cumulative dropout data, and just report dropouts on a per-year basis, which of course is much smaller than the real deal.

Comes now former welfare mom, Star Parker, a columnist on the national website TownHall, decrying the same statistical monkeyshines in California in general and Los Angeles in particular:

Here’s a shocker: California’s racial gap isn’t as bad as Nebraska’s. Ms. Parker reported that a Harvard study found that 57% of Sunshine State blacks and 60% of Latinos graduate from high school. The LA public schools are indeed worse than Nebraska’s, but not by that much: 39% of Latinos and 47% of blacks graduate.

Here’s why that bites for those kids: she also reported that U.S. Census Bureau figures for 1999 showed earnings of full-time workers without a high-school degree as only 77% of the earnings of those with high-school degrees, and only 45% of those with bachelor's degrees.

Ms. Parker writes, “Poor kids are simply trapped in a government school monopoly where the manner in which education is defined and administered and the values that are conveyed are by and large pre-scripted by a politically correct establishment.”

Here’s her conclusion:

“When I log onto the Web site of the National Education Association, the national union of the teachers staffing our public schools, the first thing I see is a headline announcing a study that says ‘the goals of “No Child Left Behind” cannot be met without a significant increase in resources.’

“According to the Pacific Research Institute, the L.A. Unified School District spends more than $9,000 per year per student. I am confident that if inner-city parents had $9,000 through a voucher or scholarship to send their child wherever they chose to school, more than one in two would graduate.

“Businesses that face competition deliver more and more for less and less. Monopolies deliver less and less for more and more. What else can we expect from the NEA and the government school monopoly than claims that spending is the alleged answer for everything?”

Amen, and well said.

So there’s common sense from the land of the fruits and nuts. And if it makes sense there, it makes a lot more sense here, where our racial graduation gap is even worse than the land of Watts and the big barrios.

The unions will cry that school-choice advocates just want to hurt public education, and hog all the money and power for themselves. That’s simply not true. But listen up: if the education establishment did not want to lose control over K-12 education in this country, they never should have let abominations like the huge racial gap in graduation to occur in the first place.

I think it was the Beach Boys who sang, “And we’ll have fun, fun, fun once the taxpayers take K-12 awaaaaayyyyyyy (from union control).”

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