Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Slightly Off-Topic: "Paging Harrison Bergeron!"

Only in Berkeley. The East Bay Express has a story on the redesign of the Berkeley High School, in which the school's science budget, including labs will be cut by 30% so that the money can be funneled to programs for underprivileged students. Eric Klein writes:
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.
So, lets see. The solution is not to interest underprivileged students in science and science-related disciplines but, rather, to reduce science education to the lowest common denominator in an effort to equalize education. How did the science teachers react?
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.
At a time when science education is becoming increasingly important and the United States is falling further behind in science worldwide, this is absolutely bassackwards. The comments below the article are scathing. Patterico also picked up the story. He writes:
It seems to me struggling students of every race would be better served by more science labs, not fewer ones, but this will be especially hard on any minority student currently benefiting from a science lab. I guess they and their white counterparts must sacrifice so more Berkeley High students score the same.
What is peculiar about the article is the complete lack of information about what kinds of programs will be instituted to help these students instead of science programs. That information will probably not be forthcoming. As one of Patterico's reader's wrote:
Frankly, I’d pull the accreditation of a high school district that did this.
Sadly, there is little chance of that happening. Another thing, though: if there are fewer science students around, who is going to pray at The Atheon? Someone once said "If your mind gets too open, your brains will fall out." They seem to be lying all over the ground in Berzerkeley, California.

Now playing: Anthony Phillips - Regrets (piano Mix)
via FoxyTunes

No comments:

Post a Comment