Part 3—About those "inferior" schools: Where will Mya Alford go to college, assuming she gets the chance?
We have no idea. Maybe Alford, age 16, will apply to Penn State. Maybe she'll stay closer to home.
(State College is 135 miles from Pittsburgh, where Alford is junior class president at historic Westinghouse High.)
We have no idea about that. We can tell you this—if Alford were a Texas kid, she'd be admitted to UT-Austin, assuming she finished in (roughly) the top ten percent of her graduating class.
Texas kids get admitted to Austin under the so-called "top ten percent plan." Justice Ginsburg made a somewhat sardonic comment about this procedure during last week's Supreme Court hearing about admission procedures at Austin. In her subsequent column in the Washington Post, Ruth Marcus offered some background:
MARCUS (12/13/15): The university, segregated by law until 1950, has been grappling with this issue for decades. After an earlier affirmative action program was invalidated in 1996, African American enrollment plummeted, from 309 students in 1995 to 190 in 1997, out of a freshman class of 7,085.As we noted yesterday, the "top ten" plan hasn't exactly flooded Austin with black kids. That said, the plan was adopted as a way to admit more black kids to Austin and, at least imaginably, it can have pernicious effects. According to the New York Times, Justice Ginsburg spouted off about this during last week's hearing:
In response, the Texas legislature adopted a program to grant automatic admission to those in the top 10 percent of their high school class, a nominally race-blind approach that ironically relies for its effectiveness on the state's continuing pattern of residential segregation, and consequent clusters of overwhelmingly minority high schools.
LIPTAK (12/10/15): But Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the top-10 program was itself problematic. ''It seems to me that it is so obviously driven by one thing only, and that thing is race,'' she said. ''It's totally dependent upon having racially segregated neighborhoods, racially segregated schools, and it operates as a disincentive for a minority student to step out of that segregated community and attempt to get an integrated education.''In theory, all that is true.
In part, Justice Ginsburg was noting one of the ironies—one might even say hypocrisies—in the Texas affirmative action fight. The top 10 program, which "is so obviously driven by one thing only," isn't the part of the school's admission procedure which is being challenged before the Court. The challenge is aimed at the other part of the admission procedure, the so-called holistic review, which admits only 25 percent of the overall freshman class.
In theory, the other part of Ginsburg's comment is also true. In theory, an ambitious black kid in Texas might decide to stay in a less challenging single-race school as a way of guaranteeing admission to Austin, as opposed to attending a more challenging citywide "magnet" school where he or she might fall out of the top ten percent.
In theory, that could happen, as Justice Ginsburg noted. That said, how often does this actually happen? Does it ever happen?
You won't likely get an answer to that in the New York Times. In point of fact, nobody cares about kids like Mya Alford, whether they go to Westinghouse High or live in the Lone Star State.
Within our journalistic elites, no one actually cares. That's also true on corporate liberal cable and at our biggest liberal orgs, whose stars would jump off the Golden Gate Bridge before they would spend their time discussing the real school lives of good decent kids like Alford.
They refuse to discuss our public schools in any way, shape or form. They refuse to present the most obvious facts about the performance of the students in those schools.
They refuse to challenge pernicious narratives about the failures of those schools. They refuse to speak to pernicious claims about the ratty teachers in those schools, with their fiendish teachers unions.
There's no sign that our high-flying liberal elites care about students like Alford—except to the extent that they can be used to let us shriek and wail and cry, not unlike the tormented girls in Salem Village, so many years ago. (We continue to struggle and fight with Stacy Schiff's hard-to-read book.)
Last week's Supreme Court hearing produced the predictable cries. In a display which was truly Salemistic, the Reverend Sharpton was soon on TV, telling corporate liberal star Christopher Hayes that one of the Justices wanted to return to the bad old days of separate but equal schools.
"We're going back to separate but equal," the tormented reverend cried.
The reverend didn't claim that he saw a miniature version of this Justice perched on Hayes' shoulder. To his credit, he didn't claim that the Justice was biting him even as he spoke.
But in the lunacy of his claim, the writhing reverend did come pretty darn close. When Schiff describes those shrieking girls, we think about episodes like this.
Tomorrow, we'll review the demonic statement which touched off the shrieking and wailing from Reverend Sharpton and quite a few others. As it turned out, the Justice who made the demonic statement wasn't Justice Ginsburg, who merely noted a few of the weirdnesses built into this discussion.
It was a second Justice, Justice Scalia, who proposed the return to separate but equal, at least according to Reverend Sharpton, who may have spotted a yellow bird perched on Scalia's shoulder as he watched him propose this demonic reversion.
Scalia had dared to make a suggestion. He had dared to suggest a possibility—the possibility that some black kids might do better at "lesser schools" than at a highly competitive school like UT Austin.
His use of that term—"lesser school"—was clearly infelicitous. That said, the chief counsel defending the UT plan quickly went him one better, referring to the "inferior schools" to which Scalia would consign such kids.
That phrase was even less felicitous. It went unmentioned by our twitching, afflicted tribal leaders, since it didn't suit the purpose of creating a tribal explosion.
That said, almost all kids who get to go to college attend such "lesser, inferior schools." For today, we thought we'd show you what that means in the Texas context.
Suppose a student, black, white or brown, can't get admitted to Austin. To what sort of "inferior schools" might she be shipped off instead?
We hate to intrude when our tribal priests are staging one of their breakdowns. But within the University of Texas System, those "inferior schools," which aren't separate but equal, would include schools like the one names below.
Within the University of Texas System, a student who doesn't get admitted to Austin might hope to attend UT-Dallas or UT-San Antonio or UT-Arlington, among a list of eight major campuses. But wait, folks. That's not all!
Within the Texas State University System, he or she might hope to attend Sul Ross State or Lamar University—or Texas State or Sam Houston State.
(Just for the record, Lyndon Johnson, a former president, graduated from Texas State. Dan Rather is a Sam Houston alum.)
Except to the giants who run our world, these aren't "inferior" schools. They clearly aren't "separate but equal." As an example of what we mean, we recommend a fascinating presentation by UT-Arlington, in which the school boasts about its world-class diversity.
The presentation bears this title: "The Power of Diversity/A University for the 21st Century." This chart is the tiniest part of the presentation by a school which our own shriekers and bewitched believe to be offering "separate but equal:"
UT Arlington Diversity at a GlanceWe're struggling to find the part of that chart which says "separate but equal." Among its additional list of "Fast Facts," the school includes this note:
White: 47.1 percent
Hispanic: 15.2 percent
African American: 13.9 percent
Asian/Pacific Islander: 10.6 percent
International: 10.6 percent
Native American or Alaska Native: 0.5 percent
"More than one-third of faculty members identify themselves as minorities."
That presentation by UT-Arlington strikes us as fantastic, new, borderline inspiring. We see pictures of a profoundly modern campus, a campus which may put UT-Austin to shame in some ways.
Texas kids who don't get admitted to UT-Austin may go to UT-Arlington. They aren't attending an "inferior school," although its admission criteria are less demanding than those maintained at Austin. And they certainly aren't attending a school which has accomplished a reversion to "separate but equal."
What would happen to Mya Alford if she was a Texas kid? We have no idea. Black enrollment at UT-Austin seems to remain quite low, as we noted in yesterday's afternoon post. But the state is full of other choices, and some of those choices truly do seem like "21st century universities."
Within our journalistic and legal elites, this may not seem to matter. They want their kids to go to Austin or Yale, campuses from which some of the most god-awful "journalists" on the planet have emerged in recent years.
Meanwhile, within our own shrieking tribe, only one thing seems to matter. We like to spot the demons and the witches. We then like to utter our piteous cries, not excluding "separate but equal," one of our greatest crowd-pleasers.
Separate but equal! This makes us liberals very dumb as we try to catch up with The Other Tribe. It also helps us ignore the actual school lives of superb young people like Alford.
Nobody cares about kids like Alford. Can we at least get clear on that fact?
Tomorrow: What various people said last week
Coming this afternoon: Golden State edition