The Multiracial View from the White House
Multiracial President Obama recently announced a White House Initiative on Educational Excellence—for African American students. These efforts are nothing new; there are similar White House Education Initiatives for Hispanics, American Indian and Alaska natives, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. How great for those groups!
Who is missing? White students, but everyone thinks all white people are rich and getting wonderful educations at pricy private schools and …let’s look again…oh yes….multiracial students, of course.
We still have overcrowded schools, not enough funding, the drop-out problem, less-than-great test scores, and on and on. The President said that the goal is to produce “a more effective continuum” of programs for African-American students. I’m not even sure what he means by that. I bet Ben Jealous, CEO of the NAACP does. He commented, “If fully implemented, we are convinced the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans will make sure school discipline is fair, special education assignments are based on needs, not race, and all of our nation’s most motivated students have fair access to advance placement classes.”
Oh. This is about making sure, according to the NAACP that black students get treated fairly, but based on needs, not race. I’m not at all sure how that works for black students, if it’s not based on race, unless this is just to throw money at a group problem. But just how does that work for a multiracial student?
Enter the US Department of Education, which says every school district in America has been told to allow students in K-12 to check two or more races. It claims to advise each school district to separately tabulate the numbers of multiracial (or check two or more in their language) students. It also looks to us at Project RACE that they are, indeed, reassigning those numbers back into a single minority category. By the way, the African American Initiative will be housed in the U.S. Department of Education.