This op-ed was written by John Yoo, a member of PLF’s board of trustees and a law professor at University of California, Berkeley.
In February, the San Francisco Board of Education voted to eliminate merit-based admissions standards at Lowell High School, one of the city’s top-ranked public schools, with the stated goal of increasing diversity in the student body. The result is the numbers of Black, Hispanic, and White students in Lowell’s incoming 9th-grade class increased — but the number of Asian American students plunged sharply by more than 18 percent.
It’s the latest example of how progressive school officials in communities across the United States have declared war on Asian American achievement. These officials, inflamed with a newfound commitment to racial justice, are loosening admissions
Even if these changes are well-
Fortunately, more families are fighting back to protect their children’s educational
This war on Asian American achievement is being waged on battlefields nationwide — New York City; San Francisco; Montgomery County, Maryland; Fairfax County, Virginia — but the story is similar regardless of where it occurs. School officials, seeking to combat “systemic racism,” revise longstanding race-blind, merit-based admissions standards like objective tests in favor of more subjective criteria. The reasoning is obvious: using subjective criteria, school officials can socially engineer the classroom composition to achieve their desired mix of racial identities.
So how do we reverse this malicious trend? In the current environment of moral hysteria surrounding racial representation, fighting back against the woke crusaders in the education bureaucracy may seem like an uphill battle. However, Asian Americans have several advantages as they defend their children’s futures.
First, they have a strong constitutional argument and powerful legal tools at their disposal. Our constitution prohibits unequal treatment on the basis of race, and our founding principles exhort us to treat people as individuals rather than as members of groups they didn’t choose. Organizations like Pacific Legal Foundation (full disclosure: I serve on the PLF board) and other law firms are providing expert legal representation to aggrieved families and students, often at no charge.
Second, Asian Americans have
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Asian Americans have a growing coalition of allies prepared to stand with them. Parents of all races and classes are alarmed and repelled by public schools’ adoption of critical race theory, which is the ideological underpinning of this assault on objective, meritocratic standards. It’s reassuring to see a multiracial coalition of parents and community leaders standing against this attempt to replace meritocracy with
Our nation’s proud progress of ending discrimination based on race is cast aside when we require advantaging some people and disadvantaging others to achieve equal results based on racial identity. Asian American parents and all Americans committed to equal educational opportunity should fight to end this new form of government-sanctioned discrimination. Our children’s futures are at stake.
This op-ed was originally published by Inside Sources on October 13, 2021.