"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The New Meaning of Diversity: Honor Class Cancelled if Minorities Don't Meet the Testing Entrance Requirements

Evanston Township High School may drop an Honors English class because it doesn't meet diversity goals. There are too many white students and not enough minority students in incoming freshman English honors class, so the school is planning not to offer the class according to the Chicago-Tribune:

Across the Chicago region, high school officials say they are making inroads in diversifying their advanced classes, but Evanston is considering the boldest step of all: eliminating an elite honors English course that has traditionally been offered to the highest-achieving incoming freshmen — usually white. The superachievers — freshmen who outscore about 95 percent of their peers nationally on eighth-grade achievement tests — would no longer have their own class, beginning next fall. A year later, the same approach would be taken with freshman biology classes, if the school board approves the proposal.

The superintendent is ..." excited about moving away from racially segregated classes," he said at a packed school board meeting earlier this week, adding that all freshmen should be taking challenging courses that will propel them to even more rigorous classes as upperclassmen.

According to the article, the reason this segregation occurs is not because of ability, but because of decades of grouping and tracking. The school believes being placed year after year in certain learning groups impedes a student's ability to learn at a challenging level. The answer? Penalize those super achievers who score very high, can learn at an accelerated rate, and make those achievers attend more of a diverse class that is not "racially segregated".

Do you think the school would have taken such a radical step if the classes had been diverse? No, it wouldn't. Read the article. This step has been taken to make sure there is equal distribution of education regardless of student ability. This is the core mission Race to the Top and Vision for Missouri Public Education: equal distribution of teachers/administrators and educational opportunity, no matter the ability or desire of the student.

Is this the plan to make public education students globally competitive? Placing all students on the same level and teaching them in the same manner? This is absurd. Students who are goal oriented and high achievers might as well stay home and take online courses. They'll certainly be challenged more in a virtual setting than sitting in classes learning information they already know.

What happened to Martin Luther King's statement, "judge a man not by the color of his skin but by the contents of his character"? Perhaps we can expand it to Evanston Township High School honors class...for appropriate classroom placement, judge a student by test scores, ability and desire to learn, not the color of his/her skin. It seems as if these high school students are judged solely by their color, not their ability.

What exactly are we paying for in public schools today? True learning or political correctness?

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