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August 15, 2004


New Jersey has had it's share of problems this week. Flying below the radar was a state Supreme Court decision ruling diversity was more important than fiscal prudence. I quote,

In her ruling, [Chief Justice] Poritz said concerns about racial diversity trump worries about high property taxes.

"Students attending racially imbalanced schools are denied the benefits that come from learning and associating with students from different backgrounds, races and cultures," Poritz wrote. "We find that, in this case, withdrawal by North Haledon will deny the benefits of the educational opportunity offered by a diverse student body to both the students remaining at Manchester Regional and to the students from North Haledon."

Of course, in the decision, I don't see anything definite that explains what this diversity benefit is that is worth taxpayers shelling out more money than is necessary, sans the overly ambiguous

promote ‘cross-racial understanding,’ help to break down racial stereotypes, and ‘enable students to better understand persons of different races.'” [see also, O'Connor]

What gets me is that the decision isn't based on data or even what is best for the community (i.e., lower property taxes), but rather some abstract notion that diversity, ipso facto, automatically means a better education.

If this keeps up, I can see a not too distant future when, say, programs for the gifted are deemed wrong/illegal by the Courts; not because they are ineffective (which they tend not to be), but because they, more often than not, do not take on the demographic characteristics of the school(s) from which the gifted kidos come.

Of course, the entire premise behind all of this legal mumbo jumbo is that we are all the same, one people if you will, and any difference is due to different environments---thus the perceived need to equalize, integrate, and uniformly distribute.

Where is Pinker's jurisprudent incarnation?

Posted by A. Beaujean at 09:16 PM