Ward Connerly has led the right wing’s fight against diversity in schools, pushing ballot initiatives to ban affirmative action around the nation. Earlier in the week on PRI’s To The Point radio show, Connerly said that schools don’t need to be integrated because people can find other places to “get along with others.” He then offered the racetrack as an alternate venue, noting, “I love horseracing, and I– whenever I can find the time I will frequent the racetrack, and I find myself thrown in with people from all around the globe.” Listen here:
But Connerly is missing the point. The effects of diversity in schools can’t be replicated in casual settings such as the racetrack. A recent study by the Center for American Progress concluded:
— African Americans and Hispanics learn more in integrated schools. Minorities attending integrated schools also perform better in college attendance and employment.
— Minority students who are desegregated at a younger age, in elementary school, also seem to benefit more than those desegregated later in their school careers. Three-fourths of the studies where desegregation occurred in kindergarten showed achievement gains and the effect sizes were larger than in desegregation efforts aimed at older students.
— Racial integration is a rare case where an educational policy appears to improve educational equity at little financial cost.
Read full report HERE.
WARREN OLNEY: Ward Connerly, what about that? If there isn’t some mechanism for getting people to know each other early on, how are we going to have a society that is truly integrated and where there is equality for all when people grow up?
WARD CONNERLY: I love horseracing, and I– whenever I can find the time I will frequent the racetrack, and I find myself thrown in with people from all around the globe — low income people, people who own large chains of restaurants, all sitting next to each other.
People are very adaptive. We find a way to get along with others. Even when there are barriers of language, and whatever, we somehow find a way to get along and I just think it’s really nonsense. I’ve been a part of that nonsense as well as anyone, as well as others, coming out of the sixties and being an integrationist and believing that because the government had imposed segregation that somehow there were all these benefits for the government to go the other way. I now really sort of recant that view.
People are adaptive. They will find ways to get along, and this goofiness that somehow the government has to use race to pull us around here and there in order for us to learn to get along in this global society — I think it’s boloney.