I hope you’re sitting down, because otherwise the following news might send you to the fainting couch quicker than a Victorian lady who has just overheard someone say the word “knickers.” A new study says that putting a high-paid diversity bureaucrat on the school payroll may actually make things worse for black and Latino students.
No, that sound you’re hearing is not a nationwide cicada infestation: that’s just ten thousand heads being scratched in school administrators’ offices. You mean, all those diversity hucksters who said we could close racial gaps by hiring lavishly-paid diversity hucksters were just in it for themselves?
Yeah, and you should think about feeding the shredder with all of those Ibram X. Kendi and Robin DiAngelo books about how you should blow $15,000 or so to get someone like Kendi or DiAngelo to lecture you on white privilege. But only if you actually care about improving the fortunes of underprivileged minorities rather than assuaging the guilt of white people by throwing money away.
An empirical study by the Heritage Foundation that analyzed data in 554 districts teaching 22.5 million students found that, now that Chief Diversity Officers (CDOs) have been hired by virtually every college campus, 79 percent of the largest K-12 districts have hired such officers as well, and even rural districts are now taking them on at a fast clip. Okay, so how is that working out? Districts with CDOs have greater achievement gaps between rich and poor, between white and black, and between white and Latino students.
“In districts without a CDO,” reports Heritage, “the average black student is 1.9 grade levels behind the average white student on standardized test results.” With CDOs, that gap grows to 2.4 grade levels. The same pattern emerges when comparing white and Latino students, although the gaps are smaller.
What if this is merely downstream from poverty, though? Districts with CDOs, which are concentrated in cities, have a higher percentage of students who qualify for free lunches. Suburban and exurban districts are wealthier. To address that question, Heritage’s researchers looked at test scores over time. Over a decade ending in 2018, “the white–black achievement gap grew by 0.03 grade levels each year in districts with CDOs relative to districts without that position.” Between whites and Latinos, the gap grew by 0.02 grade levels per year in districts with CDOs vs. those without them.
Heritage ran regression analyses to control for other factors (such as school budgets, racial composition, baseline levels of student achievement, and so on) and found the same outcomes: CDOs are associated with worse performance by minorities, and the gaps are growing larger in those districts.
Could be a coincidence, right? Yes, but that’s a lot of data pointing the other way. The districts surveyed enroll some 44 percent of American K-12 students. At the very least, the CDOs, whether you call them “directors of educational equity,” “directors of diversity, equity and inclusion” or some other title that would have baffled your grandmother, don’t seem to be delivering on their promise.
Mass resignations appear to be in order. Soon we’ll be hearing cries ring out across the nation: “I’ve failed my students, and I’m so sorry. I’ll be donating all the salaries and benefits I’ve collected from taxpayers to needy minorities.”
Or, failing that, at least we’ll hear hundreds of school districts announcing, “This study is so disturbing that we hereby commit ourselves to gathering even more hard data to settle the question of whether diversity officers improve outcomes for minority students.”
Nah. Those things would only happen in a system that actually cared about how much black and Latino students are learning. Why would public schools start doing that now? The diversity racket is a gravy train, and for the good of every bureaucrat with a dinner plate, it must keep on rolling.