Black performance on police exams is simply the tip of the iceberg of a truly tragic cruelty. That cruelty stands front and center when one examines the education that most blacks in Baltimore receive. Several years ago, Project Baltimore began an investigation of Baltimore’s school system. What they found was an utter disgrace. In 19 of Baltimore’s high schools, out of 3,804 students, only 14 of them, or less than 1%, were proficient in math. In 13 of Baltimore’s 39 high schools, not a single student scored proficient in math. In five Baltimore City high schools, not a single student scored proficient in math or reading. Despite these academic deficiencies, about 70% of the students graduate and are conferred a high school diploma. A high school diploma attests that the holder can read, write and compute at a 12th-grade level. Obviously, the diplomas conferred on students who have not mastered reading, writing and computing are fraudulent.
When a person who cannot read, write and compute very well takes a written employment exam, including that to become a police officer, he is going to encounter difficulties. His difficulties are not caused by any racially discriminatory aspect of the test. His difficulties are a result of not having acquired what he should have acquired by the time he finished high school. But that is not how such a person sees it. He sees that he has a high school diploma just as a white applicant has a high school diploma. To him, any difference in treatment and outcomes must be the result of racial discrimination. Thus, the U.S. Department of Justice sued, claiming that the written test for police officer recruits was unfairly biased against black applicants.