Merit is now considered racist, as New York City Mayor and Democratic presidential candidate Bill de Blasio’s new education advisory committee suggests. A panel de Blasio appointed recently recommended ending selective merit-based programs in city public schools, even when no evidence supports the accusation of racial discrimination simply because people of some racial backgrounds fail to achieve as much as others do.
As Christine Rosen writes in Commentary, “The advisory panel describes merit-based testing and other screening procedures used in New York City’s public schools as ‘exclusionary admissions practices,’ not because they found any evidence of racial bias in the screening procedures but simply because the outcome of screening does not perfectly reflect the demographic make-up of the city.” The recommendation is therefore to “stop using academic criteria to screen applicants for admission to public middle schools, and to phase out elementary gifted-and-talented programs that now require a test.”
This is just the next step in active discrimination against hardworking students, for the sake of equal outcome. De Blasio and his schools’ chancellor, Richard Carranza, previously pushed to cut Asian enrollments. An absolute mindless discrimination is going on against selective “specialized high schools,” which are dominated by working-class Asian American students. The city’s Independent Budget Office conducted a study, finding that de Blasio’s plan would increase black and Hispanic enrollment from 10 percent to about 50 percent at these schools, while cutting Asian and white enrollment in half.
Previously, the U.S. College Board decided that it will calculate an “adversity score” for every student who take the SAT. Apparently, it is supposed to measure students’ “socio-economic” position so colleges can consider measures other than their academic performance when admitting applicants. Colleges would be able, then, to keep the score in mind so otherwise “disadvantaged” students do not get discriminated against.
College Board CEO David Coleman, the same man behind Common Core, said this is meant to raise the profile of low-income students who do well. In an interview on Fox, he said, “If you distinguish yourself by performing extraordinarily well in demanding circumstances, we can see you — you’re not counted out from the beginning.” The “adversity score” would use 15 factors to determine the level of difficulty a student faced throughout his life and high school career, and affect that student’s eligibility for college admission.
Behind the benevolent facade, this is a deeply sinister move to change the American education system and its competitive advantage, forcing it onto the quasi-religious altar of “diversity.” This was also inevitable. Race-conscious quota systems have been stealthily infesting universities — based on sexuality and race, for example, instead of the only hard metric that should be countable: merit.
The new adversity score would not reveal the 15 metrics used for assessing a student’s history and background, nor reveal the scores to students or their parents, but only to colleges. In short, it’s a secret test, with arbitrary judging criteria, and absolutely zero accountability. Essentially, some random, unelected people get to put their fingers on the scale of college admittance, based on what they consider to be socially and ideologically just. If that doesn’t sound discriminatory to a section of people, the word has lost all meaning.
In the late ’80s, however, the socialist central government designed national quotas in a last attempt to keep power for erstwhile lower castes in national jobs and education. The quotas effectively killed Indian higher education and its formerly superior technology and medical colleges, led to a massive brain drain to the West from which India never recovered and which continues to this day, and divided the country socially, which still affects national unity and social cohesion, and is a potent political issue.
There’s a timeless lesson here. In this case, it applies to a system that incentivizes social victimhood for colleges to score points instead of making education an actual level playing field. It is easy to overlook the race aspect, but there is merit (no pun) to that argument. As noted, hardworking Asians and whites often get discriminated against, especially with racial quota systems like these. Case in point: Harvard University’s discrimination against Asians, a lawsuit Harvard is surely losing.
Universities are supposed to form a social contract with society — society pays them to be just gatekeepers for future leaders. But universities are increasingly, in the words of Sir Roger Scruton, ideological indoctrination chambers; utter scams that digest a large amount of taxpayer money, propagate unscientific self-hating theories to a mass of gullible minds, and churn out activists who then infest different institutions and organizations.
Not just that, but they are now directly trying to interfere and socially engineer a new ruling class within the country, based not on merit but on things about them that people can’t change. Next time anyone lectures about how tough, neutral, and meritocratic the American education system is, remind them of the discrimination of the SAT adversity score.
So why are Republicans silent on this treatment of what is essentially their core support group? These new efforts to make education “egalitarian” incentivize a failed system of affirmative action and offer a collectivist answer to what is essentially supposed to be an individualistic problem. If Republicans let this discrimination pass without a fight — and it is discrimination, because there is no other word to describe it — they deserve to lose the support of their core electorate and, over time, surrender the nation’s institutions to a rampaging leftist ruling class.