Calif.’s experience

Published on October 19th, 2011

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Regarding "Pittsburgh Metro Area Named One of Nation’s Least Diverse" (Sept. 5): As a retired California public school teacher, I have 25 years of firsthand experience with diversity’s pros and cons.

The 1965 Immigration Act started California along its path toward becoming the nation’s most diverse state. Nearly 50 years ago, experts ranked California’s schools as among the best. Today, they’re last.

Somewhere during the intervening years, Sacramento’s education bureaucrats decided that embracing diversity was more important than learning. As a result, schools hold cultural awareness days, bulletin boards emphasize diversity and costly English-as-a-second-language classes are offered on every one of California’s thousands of campuses. California has 1.5 million non-English-speaking K-12 students, 25 percent of its total enrollment.

Based on my observations, many if not most of California’s high school graduates cannot do long division with decimals, explain the federal government’s three branches or write a coherent, grammatically correct 200-word essay. Meeting a diverse student body’s needs has lowered overall statewide education standards.

Pittsburgh may be less diverse than other major cities. But, as the article pointed out, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. For those who hope for more diversity, my cautionary message is be careful what you wish for.

Bradford Woods

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