Jason Riley wrote about the war on meritocracy. In previous commentaries, I have discussed this disturbing trend to no longer evaluate students based on merit. Jason Riley, as an African American, adds an important perspective to this ongoing debate.
While so many are criticizing Governor Ron DeSantis for a few sentences in a 200-page black history curriculum, there is a bigger issue. Just a little over a third (39%) of Miami-Dade County fourth graders are proficient in reading. By eighth grade, the percentage (31%) drops even further. Jason Riley asks, “Who cares if kids have access to books by Toni Morrison or Jodi Picoult if most of them can’t comprehend the contents?”
He goes on to remind us that the problem in Miami isn’t an isolated educational problem. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (what I have frequently referred to as the “Nation’s Report Card”), scores for black fourth graders trailed that of white fourth graders by 29 points. After spending so much money and manpower, the report acknowledged that the “performance gap was not significantly different from that in 1998.”
Bureaucrats, educators, and activists have a solution. If certain minority students do poorly on tests, then get rid of the standardized tests and lower the standards. He quotes economist Walter Williams who lamented that we have been giving black students “phony grades and ultimately fraudulent diplomas.”
This war on meritocracy has been taking place throughout the educational spectrum. This isn’t just a problem in K-12 education, but Jason Riley talks about how the war is even being waged in our medical schools. We need to hold students to a higher standard of excellence and return to a foundation of meritocracy.