Democrat opposition to charter schools hurts the black community

Economist Thomas Sowell
Economist Thomas Sowell

Yesterday, I featured an article from one of my two favorite economists, and today I have an article from my other favorite economist, Dr. Thomas Sowell.

Dr. Sowell writes:

What about black success? Does that matter? Apparently not so much.

We have heard a lot about black students failing to meet academic standards. So you might think that it would be front-page news when some whole ghetto schools not only meet, but exceed, the academic standards of schools in more upscale communities.

There are in fact whole chains of charter schools where black and Hispanic youngsters score well above the national average on tests. There are the KIPP (Knowledge IS Power Program) schools and the Success Academy schools, for example.

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Only 39% of all students in New York state schools who were tested recently scored at the “proficient” level in math, but 100% of the students at the Crown Heights Success Academy school scored at that level in math. Blacks and Hispanics are 90% of the students in the Crown Heights Success Academy.

The Success Academy schools in general ranked in the top 2% in English and in the top 1% in math. Hispanic students in these schools reached the “proficient” level in math nearly twice as often as Hispanic students in the regular public schools. Black students in these Success Academy schools reached the “proficient” level more than twice as often as black students in the regular public schools.

What makes this all the more amazing is that these charter schools are typically located in the same ghettos or barrios where other blacks or Hispanics are failing miserably on the same tests. More than that, successful charter schools are often physically housed in the very same buildings as the unsuccessful public schools.

In other words, minority kids from the same neighborhood, going to school in classes across the hall from each other, or on different floors, are scoring far above average and far below average on the same tests.

Fine, fine, and obviously no one stands in the way of giving black parents access to these higher-performing schools for their children, right?


[T]he teachers’ unions are opposed to charter schools — and they give big bucks to politicians, who in turn put obstacles and restrictions on the expansion of charter schools. These include politicians like New York’s “progressive” mayor Bill de Blasio, who poses as a friend of blacks by denigrating the police, standing alongside Al Sharpton.

The net result is that 90% of New York City’s students are taught in the regular public schools that have nothing like the success of charter schools run by KIPP and Success Academy.

That makes sense only politically, because it gains the money and the votes of the teachers’ unions, for whom schools exist to provide jobs for their members, rather than to provide education for children.

If you want to understand this crazy and unconscionable situation, just follow the money and follow the votes.

Black success is a threat to political empires and to a whole social vision behind those empires. That social vision has politicians like Bill de Blasio and Hillary Clinton cast in the role of rescuers and protectors of blacks from enemies threatening on all sides. If politicians can promote paranoia, that means bigger voter turnout, which is what really matters to them.

Republicans are, of course, in favor of giving vouchers to the parents of poor, minority students so they can choose better schools. Because this is a no-brainer for anyone with any sense of morality.

You might think that Democrats are in favor of helping blacks, but that’s not true. Democrats don’t want blacks to have access to better schools, because Democrats take the side of teacher unions over the poor children who need an education in order to succeed. Democrats also favor giving welfare to single women to encourage them to raise fatherless children. Democrats want to punish women who do marry by making them pay higher taxes, also known as “the marriage penalty”. And Democrats normalize premarital sex, which puts a lot of pressure on women to have

One more: Democrats favor taking guns away from law-abiding people, so that criminals can rob, rape and murder them. I was just taking to one of my three black Christian female friends (all conservatives, all STEM students – nurse, computer science and computer science), and her mom was carjacked. Do Democrats want her mom to own a firearm? Hell, no. They want the criminals to work unimpeded. And demonizing the police doesn’t protect law-abiding blacks from criminals, either.

I think Republicans want to help blacks by giving them the opportunity to rise: good schools, good jobs, promote marriage, oppose criminals and encourage saving money. Democrats don’t really want to let blacks help themselves – they want to keep blacks down so that they can feel good about handing them other people’s money. Getting someone else’s money for nothing is no way to live. You feel a lot better when you earn it yourself through work – but that requires that you get a good education.

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