The Maryland Higher Education Commission reports that black enrollment in state colleges and universities reached an all-time high of 44,000 last year, rebounding from sharp declines during the 1980s. That's encouraging news, and we can only hope that the upward trend will continue.
One of the more interesting details of the commission's report was its breakdown of where the increases occurred. Most of the additional black students came from suburban areas such as Prince George's and Montgomery counties. Montgomery, of course, traditionally has enjoyed a reputation for quality schools. But the report can also be taken as at least partial vindication of the reforms instituted in the Prince George's schools by outgoing Superintendent John A. Murphy. Murphy's departure, it may be recalled, was prompted largely by a dispute last year with local NAACP officials over the issue of minority student achievement.
The rise in college-bound students from Prince George's County strongly suggests that much of the criticism Murphy endured during that unfortunate episode was indeed undeserved.