The statistics attached to the April 19 Metro article “An enduring disconnect” painted a very clear picture of the basis for alarm over the notion of “equity” in higher education. The chart clearly showed that the percentage of Black students enrolled at the flagship universities in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, North Carolina and 21 other states each year is a small fraction of the percentage graduating from high schools in those same states. 

Many confuse the idea that what is sought under the banner of “equity” is more giveaway programs for African Americans and other people of color. But the effort to seek equity is not a request for giveaways; it is an effort to address the tremendous disparity of access to society’s benefits that, at least insofar as access to high-quality higher education, is displayed by that chart.

Often, Black (and poor and Hispanic and other minority) children do not have the access to the higher education benefits offered at our stellar state universities. They do not have the credentials necessary to participate at that level. That is because of their poverty and the poor school systems in poor neighborhoods. There is a consequent lack of educational resources at young ages and throughout the primary/secondary years. Sure, there are people who are in that group who got through all of that and became successful. But many cannot ever hope for such results. Creating “equity” is all about trying to fix that. 

If we do it right, maybe the numbers 20 years from now will show that Black enrollment at our flagship universities will align better with the numbers graduating from our high schools.     

Henry D. Light, Charlottesville