Walter E. Williams

Philadelphia's four-year high-school graduation rate in 2012 was 64 percent, well below the national rate of 78 percent. Even if a student graduates from high school, what does it mean? What a high-school diploma means for white students is nothing to write home about, as suggested by the fact that every year, nearly 60 percent of first-year college students must take remedial courses in English or mathematics. What a high-school diploma means for black students is nothing less than a disaster, as pointed out by Drs. Abigail and Stephan Thernstrom in their 2009 book, "No Excuses: Closing the Racial Gap in Learning." They state that "blacks nearing the end of their high school education perform a little worse than white eighth-graders in both reading and U.S. history, and a lot worse in math and geography." Little has changed since the book's publication.

Hite rightfully said that test cheating by adults harms students, but that harm pales in comparison with the harm done by teachers awarding fraudulent grades and conferring fraudulent high-school diplomas, particularly to black students. You say, "Williams, what do you mean by fraudulent diplomas?" When a student is given a high-school diploma, that attests that he can read, write and compute at a 12th-grade level, and when he can't do so at the eighth-grade level, that diploma is fraudulent. What makes it so tragic is that neither the student nor his parents are aware that he has a fraudulent diploma. When a black person is not admitted to college, flunks out of college, can't pass a civil service test or doesn't get job promotions, he is likelier to blame racial discrimination than his poor education.

Politicians, civil rights organizations and the education establishment will do nothing about the fraud. In fact, they give their full allegiance to the perpetrators.


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.'
 
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