Authoritarian Quote of the Day

From San Francisco Board of Education member Sandra Fewer:

“Choice is inherently inequitable”

Because some people make choices that their betters, like Ms. Fewer, do not agree with, government needs the power to override individual decision-making.  We will come back to this, but it turns out the problem here may not be too much choice, but too little.

The entire article is about school choice (defined VERY narrowly as the ability to pick what monopoly government school you want to attend, not the ability to take a voucher and pick any school) leading to a greater racial sorting, rather than mixing, in San Francisco schools.

I have no idea why that would be.  And I still have no idea, because the article presented absolutely no facts.  Oddly, my first guess -- that racial sorting of schools might match racial sorting of neighborhoods since people want to send their kids to a school that is close with kids and parents they know -- is not even mentioned until, in passing, it comes up around the 35th paragraph.

One of the issues that seems to be confusing the author is that people sometimes express preferences they don't act on.  You see that in the very examples in the article.  All the parents interviewed say they want a multi-cultural school, perhaps because they are really passionate about that or perhaps because they know they are supposed to say that, but it is not hard to see that these folks care more about having a school nearby with kids and parents with whom they are culturally comfortable.   I find it a little weird that the city with possibly the most famous ethnic neighborhood in the country (ie Chinatown) has trouble understanding that there are totally non-racist reasons why ethnic groups, particularly those who speak other languages, might voluntarily sort.

One funny thing in the article that I have pointed out in other contexts: in the absence of facts people like to explain bad trends (and it is not even established that this is necessarily a bad trend, just a trend that planners don't like) with whatever they were against before the trend revealed itself.  Teachers don't like the school choice system, so school choice is to blame.  Social activists are concerned with income inequality, so they blame the problem on income inequality.

In fact, a lot of the article pursues the inequality thesis, but the interesting lede, in my mind, was buried way way down in the article:

Though the number of racially isolated schools jumped by 22 percent over three years, according to a district study, to date none are more than 60 percent white. Yet in a broader sense, white children are the most isolated in the city.

Whites are 42 percent of the city’s overall population, 33 percent of the children but only 12 percent of public school students. Why aren’t more white children in public school? Again, money appears to be the key factor: The average white San Franciscan makes three times more money than the average black resident. Whites on average also make 66 percent more money than Latinos, and 44 percent more than Asians. Possibly as a result of this wealth, white children are much more likely to be enrolled in private schools than other racial groups.

So the reason public schools are sorting into minority-majority  schools is that whites have mostly bailed from the school system altogether.   My response to this is not that "choice" has created inequality but that choice hasn't gone far enough.  Don't just give public school kids a choice of which crappy public school they want to attend, but hand them the public money the system was going to spend on their education and let them go anywhere for school, just like rich kids.

  • Zeev Kidron

    Maybe certain people view choice as inequitable because given choice people will obtain bigger differences in results, beyond what just genetics and work ethics will deliver?

    If you ultimately seek equality in results, that would seem bad. And feel bad.

  • jdgalt

    I can explain it very easily, because I've seen it first hand (though not in SF): In many (most?) places, if you force a few white kids to attend a majority-black school, they'll get beat up and/or robbed, again and again and again, and school officials will refuse to do anything about it.

    The kind of people who would force any child into that situation have no business controlling kids, ever. But it happens often enough to be predictable. This is why public schools should not exist.

  • OttoMaddox

    Bingo!

  • Joe

    The whole progressive philosophy is about having "experts" make choices for everyone else. Frank Bunni of the NYT summed up this ideology the other day on CNN.

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2015/02/02/nyts_frank_bruni_on_vaccines_the_internet_is_a_problem_because_it_allows_everybody_to_be_their_own_researcher.html

    Remember folks, self eduction is "dangerous", so let the experts do all your thinking for you.

  • Matthew Slyfield

    No, they view even the differences that result from what genetics and work ethics will deliver as inequitable and needing correction.

  • obloodyhell

    }}} I find it a little weird that the city with possibly the most famous ethnic neighborhood in the country (ie Chinatown) has trouble understanding that there are totally non-racist reasons why ethnic groups, particularly those who speak other languages, might voluntarily sort.

    No, it goes beyond that. I recall some TV show -- might have been a John Stossel 20/20, but no promises.

    The focus was this totally fabricated community (in Pennsylvania?), essentially made up of ALL 60s types who specifically bought (or created, whatever) a township designed to be as diverse and culturally non-racial as possible -- I mean, every single child in this town was raised by people who believed explicitly that racism was wrong, and that mixing of cultures was the ideal.

    It's, like, the 90s, and they've had an entire generation of kids reach high school age, and you walk around the high school, and what do you see?

    Black people in cliques together, white people in cliques together. Almost zero mixing.

    Cultural homogeneity shows every sign to me of being a pipe dream of liberal idiocy. There are differences, period, that transcend nurture. Not in every one (of either race) but there's a limited interest in mixing, and there's nothing you can do -- other than overt libtard fiat -- that will change this.

  • Zeev Kidron

    I am sorry, and you are correct. Second phase is results re distribution.

    And even work ethics is a decision. My bad. The general observation still stands though.

  • Sam L.

    Ze adminissssstration knowsssss Besssst!

  • Davy Crockett

    Asking who has the gun, would probably not be considered good form?

  • skhpcola

    The average white San Franciscan makes three times more money than the average black resident. Whites on average also make 66 percent more money than Latinos, and 44 percent more than Asians. Possibly as a result of this wealth, white children are much more likely to be enrolled in private schools than other racial groups.

    It's likely that the "average" white person has fewer children, but I don't know. It's surprising that average Latinos make almost double what average blacks earn. Stereotypes generally have some basis in fact, even if that fact reveals something uncomfortable.

  • irandom419