Monday, January 4, 2010

Berkeley High: Close racial achievement gap by cutting science labs classes

The East Bay Express has an interesting report on the recent progress of Berkeley High School's "High School Redesign Plan", tasked with the goal of closing the racial achievement gap. One item in the Redesign Plan that won "virtually unanimous" approval by the School Governance Council is to eliminate five science teachers and the labs they teach so that the money can be redirected to the lowest achieving students.
Paul Gibson, an alternate parent representative on the School Governance Council, said that information presented at council meetings suggests that the science labs were largely classes for white students. He said the decision to consider cutting the labs in order to redirect resources to underperforming students was virtually unanimous.

The item will go before the Berkeley School Board at their upcoming meeting scheduled for January 13th.

This is actually a brilliant way of "closing the racial achievement gap". It is very difficult to raise up the bottom achievers. Eliminating the opportunities for achievement works directly in that the achievement gap no longer can measure the top levels; If there are no science lab classes, then the differential in science achievement has been reduced. This also works indirectly by driving out the top achievers, whose families move them to other high schools. Driving out the high achievers is fine with those who seek to close the racial achievement gap because they believe that those high achievers are from families who can afford to sell their houses and move to different school districts or put their children in private schools.

Thomas Lifson at American Thinker has some interesting comments on the selective racism of this:
The sheer racism of identifying science as something primarily for whites seems not to penetrate the addled minds of those who fancy themselves advocates for black and Latino students. The absence of any consideration of Asian students is also striking. The city of Berkeley has more Asian households (12,641) than black households (10,874) or Latino households (8,466).

Consider that the university which makes its home in Berkeley and dominates both local employment and community's character has a majority undergraduate population of Asian students, thanks to the fact that California voters approved a state law eliminating racial preferences in state institutions. The science majors at the University of California, Berkeley overwhelmingly comprise Asian students. U.C. Berkeley also boasts 21 faculty members who have won Nobel Prizes, primarily in the sciences. The list of laureates includes two Asians and one Latino, all three science winners.

and Lifson also questions how much money should be allocated to raise up underachievers versus funding the willing achievers/ future contirbutors:
Aside from the repulsive racism of this move, the broader issue to be considered is whether society is better-served by cutting down the achievers and investing in the stragglers -- or whether everyone benefits from the achievements of those who apply themselves enough to excel. I have no hesitation in saying that I am in the latter camp. How does it benefit anyone to have an America made up of mediocre minds?


The Underground Pewster said...

I wonder if they had just said it was a cost cutting move then they would had gotten away without notice. The way they did it, the dumbing down of education is apparant for all to see.

Has anyone blamed this on Bush yet?

Lucky said...

I went to Berkeley High. Here is the problem, you have 20% of the school doing above average, and 80% of the school doing far below average. Race is a factor ONLY when it is revealed that a huge majority of that 20% are white, while a huge majority of the 80% that are failing are not. It wasn't proposed to punish white people you ignorant fools... It was proposed to help the majority of the students that were failing horribly.

Perpetua said...

Hi Lucky,

Who exactly are you calling "ignorant fools"?

And where do you find the accusation that the proposal was done with the motivation to "punish white people"?