Thomas Sowell: Will a once great school rise again?
In 1954, the Supreme Court declared that separate schools were inherently unequal, no doubt in ignorance of Dunbar, which was within walking distance of the site of that sweeping pronouncement.
Over the next several decades, four-fifths of Dunbar graduates went on to college — far more than for either black or white high school graduates in the country at large during that era.
Some in the black community were proud and grateful that there was such a school where any black youngster in the city, no matter how poor, could go to get an education that would equip him or her to go on to college anywhere and compete with anybody.
Without saying so, those standards and values were an implicit repudiation of the way many poorer and less educated blacks behaved.
What destroyed more than 80 years of academic achievement at Dunbar High School, virtually overnight, was changing it from a selective school, to which black youngsters from anywhere in the city could apply, to a neighborhood school, located in a poor ghetto neighborhood.
All the talk about elitism, and about abandoning neighborhood youngsters, in order to serve others, has been revived and another poisonous issue now added — race.
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