More and more I sense that black journalists and commentators are seeing the light, removing the racial blinders, and recognizing that the huge and seemingly intractable educational achievement gap between minority and white children isn’t a function of racism. People like syndicated columnists William Raspberry and Clarence Page as well as Andrea Georgsson of The Houston Chronicle have been noting consistently the need for what I call the “Booker T. Washington approach” of hard work and education as a personal responsibility, in addition to the demand for higher expectations from parents and the education establishment. The Thernstroms, Abigail and Stephan, have spelled it out well in their book, No Excuses: Closing The Racial Gap In Learning—a big part of the achievement gap problem is in attitudes toward academic achievement that are prevalent in the black community. I’m not saying that the conversion is complete, and it will be awhile before the NAACP and the race hustlers pick up on this theme, but it is encouraging to see some typically liberal black opinion leaders put away the “race card” and the “insufficient funding” mantra when discussing the low minority achievement levels. The true reality has also surfaced for black political leaders like Mayor Williams of the District of Columbia, and the real test for this new attitude and the willingness to buck the entrenched protectionism of the education establishment and its “amen corner” in the Democratic Party is underway right now in the U. S. Senate debate over a school choice plan for DC schools.
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