(City Journal) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio’s school-integration task force just dropped its initial report—a multilayer cake of mostly impenetrable social-justice jargon, interspersed with a dangerous idea or two, and with a dismaying lack of emphasis on the enduring value of teaching children to read, write, and do numbers. In fact, the report represents a significant victory of show over substance, establishing “diversity” as the principal goal of public education in New York City while exiling accountability—teacher accountability, parent accountability, student accountability—to the ash heap.
In its willingness to sacrifice function to form, the School Diversity Advisory Group’s initial report (a second is expected later in this school year) is a classic example of an old trope—to a hammer, the world looks like a nail. As panel member Matt Gonzales told the New York Times: “The idea of a good school versus a bad school is based on narrow assumptions [including tests and attendance]. We wanted to shift the narrative about how we measure school quality. Good schools are integrated schools.”
Or, as the report itself puts it at one point, “the use of exclusionary admissions screens . . . which judge . . . kids on behavior, test scores, and other biased metrics, is the biggest contributor to . . . segregation.” Get rid of “biased metrics,” in other words, and— presto—the problem is solved. But good luck educating children in an environment where behavior and other quantifiable performance standards are deemed an objective impediment to progress.
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