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Culture Beat / Jan. 30, 2020

Conservative Cities Better for Minority Students’ Education

The educational gap between white and minority students is highest in progressive cities.

A recent study found that, contrary to popular perception, leftist-dominated cities across the country are actually faring much worse than conservative cities at closing the gap between white and minority students in educational achievement.

The study, entitled “The Secret Shame How America’s Most Progressive Cities Betray Their Commitment to Educational Opportunity for All,” observes, “Progressive cities, on average, have achievement gaps in math and reading that are 15 and 13 percentage points higher than in conservative cities, respectively.” Moreover, “Three of the 12 most conservative cities — Virginia Beach, Anaheim and Fort Worth — have effectively closed or even erased the gap in at least one of the academic categories we examined.”

“Meanwhile,” says civil-rights attorney Nekima Levy Armstrong in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “in our own ‘progressive’ city of Minneapolis, the report showed that the shameful gap in math achievement between black and white students in K-12 is 53 percentage points, while the gap in math between brown and white students is 45 points.” Armstrong continues, “Similarly, in reading, the gap between black and white Minneapolis students is 53, while the gap between brown and white students is 47. Compare that with ‘conservative’ Jacksonville, Fla., where the reading gap between black and white students is 30; and the math gap is 27.”

This educational gap cannot be blamed on a lack of resources, as leftist cities on average spend more per student than do conservative cities.

So, what conclusion do the study’s authors come to? Well, being committed leftists, they refuse to lay the blame for the gap on progressive ideology, though they also can’t deny the data. They write, “We did not consider any policy or practice as a cause for the larger achievement gaps between racial subgroups. But our results demonstrate that there is a negative difference between our most progressive and most conservative cities, and it can’t be explained away by factors such as city size, racial demographics, spending, poverty or income inequality. In cities where most of the residents identify as political progressives, educational outcomes for marginalized children lag at a greater rate than other cities.”

Try examining the worldview behind the competing ideologies and recognizing that the valuing and promotion of individual responsibility and personal development rather than group identity and social justice just might have something to do with closing the education gap. Just a thought.

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