[Guest post by DRJ]
Berkeley High School will consider a proposal to eliminate science labs and teachers in order to free up funds for minorities. Why? Because the labs primarily benefit white students and eliminating them will free up resources to help more struggling minority 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.”
Joanne Jacobs explains the targeted science labs are scheduled before and after the regular science classes. Eliminating them would “cut science instruction time by 21 percent in most science classes, 30 percent in AP classes.” In an update, Jacobs notes an education group’s argument that “extra lab time is most important for struggling students.”
Apparently this is part of Berkeley High School’s answer to reduce a performance gap between white and minority students. 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.
In other words, Berkeley may be leveling the educational playing field down.