Berkeley’s “progressive” educrats give us another perfect illustration of Diversity Uber Alles run amok. Because the government schools have failed to close the “racial achievement gap,” they’ve proposed cutting science labs and teaching staff from the high school curriculum because those resources benefit too many white 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.
Science teachers were understandably horrified by the proposal. “The majority of the science department believes that this major policy decision affecting the entire student body, the faculty, and the community has been made without any notification, without a hearing,” said Mardi Sicular-Mertens, the senior member of Berkeley High School’s science department, at last week’s school board meeting.
Sincular-Mertens, who has taught science at BHS for 24 years, said the possible cuts will impact her black students as well. She says there are twelve African-American males in her AP classes and that her four environmental science classes are 17.5 percent African American and 13.9 percent Latino. “As teachers, we are greatly saddened at the thought of losing the opportunity to help all of our students master the skills they need to find satisfaction and success in their education,” she told the board.
Such are the wages of political correctness and social justice.
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?
As a matter of simple justice, it makes no sense to favor those who do not adapt to the norms and expectations of schooling and persist in behaviors that lead to failure. Berkeley High’s worse-than-average performance among black and Latino students almost certainly has something to do with the ideology informing its approach to racial problems. Teaching people that they are victims does nothing to encourage excellence. But rather than reconsider its failing efforts, Berkeley High is doubling the dosage of a medicine that isn’t working, and which carries bad side effects.
If the Berkeley public schools go ahead with this plan, they deserve condemnation and ridicule on a national scale.
While the Obama administration holds a “Race to the Top” education charade, the racial parity enforcers of the Left push academic achievers of all coloros to the bottom for diversity’s sake.