The percentage of black cadets has dropped in recent years. In fact, there were only 600 qualified black candidates last year in the entire country.
From a high of 113 black recruits entering in 1998, to a low of 63 in 2003, West Point has seen a drop in black students for nearly a decade. Three years ago, the minority group made up about 7 percent of the 4,000-cadet population. Today it's down to 6 percent.
I remember that percentage being higher when I was there in the 80s, but I could be mistaken. Still, what's the problem?
"While this is an Academy and Army problem, it's a national problem in a much bigger sense," (Director of Admissions Colonel Mike) Jones said. "We have failed a generation of African-American kids... in terms of the opportunities we've provided them, and the emphasis we've given them on education in high schools throughout this country.
"It's a failure at the national level. And that's Jones speaking, not West Point. It's a travesty."
It's our job, in K-12, to fix that, and we're not going to fix it with fuzzy math, whole language, group work, watered-down courses, course title inflation, accepting socio-economic status as destiny, blaming racism, or any other paternalistic endeavor that does anything except hold all students in general, and blacks in particular, to high academic, conduct, and integrity standards.
There is some good news on the horizon, though.
Like the Army, West Point has made significant strides in raising the numbers of another minority population: Hispanic cadets are among the fastest-growing group at the military academy, admission data show.
The overall diversity of the corps has also climbed dramatically in the past decade, from 341 minorities in the Class of 1999 to 439 a decade later.