Thomas Sowell

As far back as 1899, the one black academic high school in Washington scored higher on standardized tests than two of the three white high schools in the nation's capital. In the decades that followed, its graduates went on to college at a higher rate than that of white Americans. From this school came the first black federal judge, the first black general to lead men in combat, the first black Cabinet member, the first black elected to the Senate and many other firsts. All this from one school.

Yet this story too is seldom mentioned today, because it too was done in ways that are not considered politically correct today. Far from looking inward at the ghetto or being Afro-centric or teaching -- or even tolerating -- "black English," it opened the students' minds to a wider world of culture, including requiring the learning of Latin and the study of the classics.

Facts about other successful black schools, past and present, get very little attention from the intelligentsia because the stories of these schools would not forward the agendas of the left. In short, history is treated as just the continuation of politics by other means.

But for anyone who is serious about wanting to see black youngsters get a better education, the story of what works and what doesn't work is more important than what is fashionable and not fashionable in the education establishment, or what is or is not considered politically correct among the intelligentsia, politicians, the education establishment or the media.

The real question is: How many people are serious about improving the education of black youngsters, as distinguished from advancing the many other agendas that stand in the way of that improvement?

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate