Affirmative action is the wrong fight, writes Ruben Navarrette, Jr. of the San Diego Union-Trib.
Latino and African Americans should worry less about the admissions policies of college X or university Y and more about the everyday practices at elementary and secondary schools in this country. What should concern them is that so many public schools fail so dismally at educating minority students that relatively few will ever be in a position to benefit from affirmative action in the first place.
Just look at the depressing situation in California where, a recent Harvard study concluded, many of the schools that service primarily black and Latino students have become little more than “dropout factories.” Some of those schools are in the Los Angeles Unified School District, where just 39 percent of Latinos and 47 percent of African Americans graduated with their class in 2002. That is compared to 67 percent of whites and 77 percent of Asians. Statewide, according to the report, just 57 percent of African Americans and 60 percent of Latinos graduated on time, compared with 78 percent of whites and 84 percent of Asians.
Navarrette wants to raise expectations and stick with No Child Left Behind’s demands.