The Real Cost of "Diversity" (8/20/09)

When it comes to problems that cry out for a dose of common sense, our Jefferson County "student assignment plan" is Exhibit A.        

Yes, 35 years ago, huge inequities between largely-black and largely-white schools were commonplace. And because of widespread housing discrimination, most minority families couldn't just move to the areas where the better schools were located, even if they wanted to.

But in 2009, those inequities have virtually been eliminated. Quality teachers and resources are now found in all schools. And housing is available to anyone throughout the county regardless of race.

So why does our school system still assign students as young as five years old to schools twenty miles from their home to make room for other students from just as far away?

The standard answer is "diversity." But the original busing plan was intended to correct the fallout from illegal segregation -- NOT guarantee "diversity."

I receive more mail about this plan than any other local subject. And what's really interesting is that virtually no one likes it.

When the public agrees this much on something, you'd think the people involved would take note. But instead, this irrational zest for "diversity at all costs" is blinding our educators to common sense, and subjecting literally thousands of good families of all races to real misery and hardship.

Any way you look at it, that's bad public policy.

I'm Bill Lamb, and that's my...Point of View.