This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.
In Washington, a schoolchild can be white, African American, Latino, Asian America, Native American, Pacific Islander and more than 50 permutations thereof.
What’s not permitted is apathy about race.
Schools have long tried to get parents to identify their children by race. That’s a good idea for several reasons. For example, there’s no way to see what’s happening with the “achievement gap” if blacks and Latino students can’t be compared with white and Asian-American children.
Now the state is pushing that generally good idea to the point of ridiculous absolutism.
Not all parents want to classify their kids racially, and not all of them care. Lots of kids show up at school without having been properly profiled by their moms or dads. The requisite forms could be filled out with boxes checked for “unknown,” “multiracial” or “declined to answer.”
Under a new policy, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction is permitting no such ambiguity. A race must be assigned – and the people at school will have to do it if the parents won’t.
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