Improving education by preventing it?

Berkeley High May Cut Out Science Labs

The proposal would trade labs seen as benefiting white students for resources to help struggling students.

Berkeley High School is considering a controversial proposal to eliminate science labs and the five science teachers who teach them to free up more resources to help struggling students.

The proposal to put the science-lab cuts on the table was approved recently by Berkeley High’s School Governance Council, a body of teachers, parents, and students who oversee a plan to change the structure of the high school to address Berkeley’s dismal racial achievement gap, where white students are doing far better than the state average while black and Latino students are doing worse.

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.

To me this is nothing but an example of political correctness taken to absurdity. Note the reason – “white students are doing far better than the state average while black and Latino students are doing worse”, and “information presented at council meetings suggests that the science labs were largely classes for white students”.

It’s amazing that the thought of actually making their non-white students study did not seem enter the heads of the school governance council, their measure is to take away the classes dominated by students who are doing better academically. Could it be that they are doing better because they take these classes? No, never, that’s crazy talk.

Not to mention that this measure is blatantly racist. Let’s swap white and black in the announcement. Can you imagine the amount of smelly stuff hitting the fan, if the announcement read:

The proposal would trade labs seen as benefiting black students for resources to help struggling 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 black students.

Rather than help students reach their full potential, giving those with talent and desire to study, regardless of race, the classes they need, the school is going to take them away, and drop everyone to the same average level. This is the embodiment of socialist concept of equality: rather than giving equal opportunity to succeed, everyone is forced to be equal, which means no one succeeds; rather than giving equal chance to shine, which some will use, everyone is forced to be dull.
Makes me sick.

A loosely related analogy from the way companies work (not that Berkeley liberals would want to take advice from the dirty capitalistic world of business): Let’s imagine a hypothetical situation in which at the beginning of the year a new team became part of my organization. Let’s also imagine that this team was previously managed differently and was held to different, in my opinion slightly lower performance expectation. Out of four possible approaches to this, only one makes sense (if you have difficulty telling which one, you might be a member of Berkeley High’s School Governance Council):
a) Hold new team to previous lower standard, and lower expectations for my “old” team to make things “fair”
b) Set same as previously (high) goals to “old” team, and same as previously (lower) goals to the “new” team.
c) Set same as previously (high) goals to both “old” and “new” team, treating them as one team
d) Set even higher goals for the combined team, give highest percentage of my time to help team members who were having problems meeting new goals, but were working hard and were really trying to meet them, and put on improvement plan and (if needed) eventually fire those who were doing “work as usual”, ignoring changes in their reality.

In this analogy, Berkeley HS Governance Council chose option a) – something for which a middle manager (which is what they are for the HS) in a well-run company would well deserve to be fired.

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Published in: on January 1, 2010 at 12:09 am  Leave a Comment  

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