Where are racial gaps in school test scores worst? Ironically, where liberals are most dominant.
The new national database of school-district test scores created by education researchers at Stanford and Harvard reveals that the single widest white-black racial gap in American public school districts is in the city most synonymous with leftism since 1964: Berkeley, California.
How badly do blacks lag whites in Berkeley public schools? Berkeley’s white-black gap is 1.60 standard deviations. In other words, the median black student would score at only the 5th percentile if he were white.
Yet, Berkeley is ferociously antiracist. It was the first to have a Black Studies Department at the high school level. In the 2012 election, Berkeley voted for Obama over Romney 90 to 5. Berkeley Unified school-district administratorsobsess over any data showing that black students get punished more than other races.
Still, the racial gap is bigger in Berkeley than anywhere else.
Nationally, the median gap between white and black test-takers within school districts is 0.61 standard deviations. Assuming a normal distribution of test scores, the average black student scores at what would be the 27th percentile among the white students in his district. That’s a noticeable gap, but not a gigantic one.
This 0.61 figure is smaller than the overall national white-black racial gap (which is around one standard deviation) because families tend to sort themselves into different school districts by housing costs. So for most public school students and their parents, the racial gap they experience in their daily lives isn’t as large as it is nationally, which probably helps Americans get along a little better.
Thus, in a run-of-the-mill school district, the racial equality glass is part empty and part full.
But in elite Berkeley, after a half century of hyper-liberalism, the racial equality glass is almost bone-dry. It’s as if liberalism isn’t really concerned with white-black equality as much as it’s preoccupied with proving white-over-white superiority.