The Attack on Educational Excellence

Read this piece at the Manhattan Institute

Schools considered ‘too Asian’ were once branded ‘too white’ or ‘too Jewish.

by Jason Riley

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio stands 6½ feet tall but still managed to come up short last week. The progressive Democrat wanted to eliminate the entrance exam for the city’s eight elite public high schools to ensure that more black and Hispanic students were admitted. State lawmakers, citing opposition from Asian families, blocked the move. Good for them.

The number of available slots at these schools is fixed, and last year Asian students were awarded 52.5% of them, according to the city’s Department of Education. By contrast, whites comprised 28% of the total, while Latinos and blacks were 6.5% and 3.8%, respectively. You’ll find similarly lopsided racial and ethnic results in other large cities—Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia—where black and Latino students are underrepresented in academically selective public high schools while whites and Asians are overrepresented.

Asian families in particular fear that replacing an objective test with what amounts to a racial quota system would come at the expense of Asian children. Given that other schools and programs for high-achieving students around the country are being pressed to become more “diverse,” those concerns are understandable.

Read this piece in full at The Wall Street Journal, originally appearing on June 12, 2018.


Jason Riley is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal, and a commentator for Fox News. After joining the Journal in 1994, he was named a senior editorial writer in 2000 and a member of the editorial board in 2005. Riley writes opinion pieces on politics, economics, education, immigration, and race. He also speaks frequently on ABC, NBC, CNN, PBS, and NPR. Follow him on Twitter here.