Politicians and activists have responded critically to Justice Scalia’s comments suggesting African-American students might fare better in a “slower-track school” rather than more competitive colleges. Yet, his comments are totally in line with what has been going on in Miami-Dade County for decades.
As of 2012, 62 percent of Miami-Dade County Public School students were of Hispanic origin and 25 percent were black. Yet, these two minorities are woefully underrepresented in health careers. For example, fewer than 18 percent of the practicing physicians in Florida represent these two minority groups.
Traditional colleges fulfill their quotas of these minorities by “easing” their policies, giving rise to this widely held belief that these minorities are “slower” than their white counterparts, but that is not the solution. The solution is to mentor and better prepare them in middle school and high school. The proposed Charter Larkin Middle School for the Health Sciences would to do just that.
Let’s stop importing doctors from foreign schools and turn our homegrown talent into the next generation of healthcare professionals to serve our healthcare needs. The best way to turn young people from violence and despair is to offer them the American Dream.
The proposed Larkin Health Sciences Campus in Naranja will boost the local economy by establishing a College of Pharmacy, a College of Medicine, a College of Dentistry and a School of Nursing, all anchored by the Larkin Charter Middle School for the Health Sciences.
Justice Antonin Scalia’s comments hit a nerve. It is time to stop the rhetoric, think outside the box and take a chance on new ideas that can change the status quo and provide an example to other areas of the nation whose minority population face a never-ending cycle of lack of opportunity and despair.
Jack J. Michel, president and chairman of the Board, Larkin Hospital, South Miami