WATCH: Kenny Xu defends merit-based education as the redeemer of academia

Kenny Xu, author of School of Woke, argued in a discussion with Nicholas Giordano that objective evaluations of merit will revive American education.

In an interview with Campus Reform Higher Education Fellow Nicholas Giordano, author Kenny Xu explained that, following the Supreme Court’s ruling against affirmative action in college admissions, a merit-based system would return American education to the quality it once was.

Xu called the decision a “great ruling,” adding “It’s a new day for our country legally,” Xu said. “It’s a snap back to what our country has always believed in, which is content of your character matters, not color of your skin.”

“What’s wrong with letting people decide where they want to go and rewarding people according to their merits?”

According to Xu, the Supreme Court’s decision will cause ideologues to draw battle lines in both higher education and K–12 schools, between “see[ing] color in people and [using] it to recognize differences … [and] being truly colorblind, … not assuming anything about that person based on their skin color.”

At stake is the future quality of education, he said. Pursuing race-based values, unlike merit-based values, undermines the incentives for students to achieve excellence. In response, schools simply redefine “basic proficiency.” “[Changing to the definition of “basic proficiency”] is going to widen the rich-poor gap in our country,” he said. “That’s going to widen the white-black gap in our country in education.”

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“What happens is that when you don’t have an incentive metric to make sure that these kids are performing at grade level based on standardized tests, schools will lower their watered down grades.”

“One thing that people can really do at school board meetings … is … encourage the school board to determine the places that the money is going.”

“School should be about the improvement of teaching and learning,” Xu concluded. “That’s what it should be about. Everything should be geared around the teacher-student experience.”