Walter E. Williams

Detroit's predominantly black public schools are close to being the worst in the nation, perhaps with the exception of those of Washington, D.C. Only 4 percent of Detroit's eighth-graders scored proficient or above on the most recent National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) test, sometimes called "The Nation's Report Card." Thirty-six percent scored basic, and 57 percent below basic. "Below basic" is when a student is unable to demonstrate even partial mastery of knowledge and skills fundamental for proficient work at their grade level. "Basic" indicates only partial mastery.

Unbeknownst to most black parents is the fact that most black students who manage to graduate from high school cannot read and compute any better than whites four years younger and still in junior high school. Here's a question for you: If we put a group of 100 students of any race having an eighth-grade level of proficiency and another group of 100 students of any race with a 12th-grade level of proficiency in college, is it reasonable to expect the first group to perform as well as the second? On top of that, is it reasonable to expect a student of any race to be able to make up 12 years of fraudulent K-12 education in the space of four or five years of college?

Detroit's social pathology is seen in other cities with large black populations such as Philadelphia, Newark, Baltimore and Chicago. These are cities where blacks have for years dominated the political machinery in the forms of mayors, police chiefs, superintendents of schools and city councilmen, plus they've been Democrats. It's safe to conclude that the focus on political power doesn't do much for ordinary blacks.


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Walter Williams' column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.