Elite Omphaloskepsis: A Series

Our policies are made by elites, and so our policymaking conversation is dominated by elite interests. Hence the hysterical outrage over the college bribery scandal, which is a branch of the argument over racial preferences in admissions — who goes to Harvard, and on what terms, matters a lot to them.

Among the lead stories in today’s New York Times is a lamentation of the fact that relatively few black students are accepted at Stuveysant, one of New York City’s most selective public schools.

In New York City, fewer than three-quarters of black students graduate from high school — and that’s the best number, ever. The black graduation rate lags the white graduation rate by twelve points. Two out of three black students in New York fail to demonstrate minimal proficiency in English; three out of four black students in New York fail to demonstrate minimal proficiency in math. The spread between black students and white and Asian students is enormous.

The most serious problem for black students in New York City’s public schools isn’t what’s happening at the best of them — it’s what’s happening at the worst of them.

But let’s have another round of soul-searching over who’s headed for Princeton.

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