The Vocabulary of Virtue

David Clemens

I have written elsewhere on the NAS site about the misguided plan to revamp California’s vast community college system.  Buried in the report of the Chancellor’s Task Force on Student Success, I found the following gem.  After congratulating themselves on their commitment to “educational equity,” the Task Force says that: 

. . . improving overall completion rates and closing achievement gaps among historically underrepresented students are co-equal goals. The Task Force’s commitment to educational equity is reflected throughout the recommendations, but perhaps most explicitly in its proposal to establish statewide and college-level performance goals that are disaggregated by racial/ethnic group [my emphasis]. Doing so will allow the system and state leaders to monitor impacts of the policy changes on these subgroups while also focusing state and local efforts on closing gaps in educational attainment.

“Equity,” social engineering’s favorite vocabulary word, apparently is achieved and student success assured by setting different goals and standards for different racial and ethnic groups.  This sounds suspiciously like “the soft bigotry of low expectations,” and the wonky “disaggregated” is used to avoid a more familiar vocabulary word with a sorry history:  segregated.  As Dr. Yehudi Webster says, “You can’t end racism by practicing racism,” even when you pretend it is virtuous. 

  • Share

Most Commented

May 1, 2017


Binghamton University Responds to NAS’s Report

SUNY Binghamton offers critiques and corrections to Outsourced to China. ...

March 23, 2011


Looking for Answers? Ask a Scholar!

NAS is partnering with Intellectual Takeout to answer questions that call for scholarly judgment and can't be answered by Wikipedia. ...

September 5, 2014


Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome

"[PTSS] provides an evidence-proof explanation that lifts away moral responsibility from those engaged in self-destructive, anti-social, and criminal behavior."...

Most Read

January 3, 2011


Estimated 40 Percent of Scientists Doubt Manmade Global Warming

S. Fred Singer said in an interview with the NAS that...

May 15, 2015


Where Did We Get the Idea That Only White People Can Be Racist?

A look at the double standard that has arisen regarding racism, illustrated recently by the reaction to a black professor's biased comments on Twitter....

May 29, 2013


Ask a Scholar: How Did Women's Suffrage Impact the USA?

Prof. Jonathan Bean assesses the impact of the women's suffrage movement on the American polity....