Patterico's Pontifications

12/29/2009

Berkeley Levels the Educational Playing Field

Filed under: Education — DRJ @ 10:14 pm

[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.

— DRJ

46 Responses to “Berkeley Levels the Educational Playing Field”

  1. Well, the minorities do not use science labs so why should anyone care ?

    Mike K (2cf494)

  2. Lowest common denominator beyotches!

    daleyrocks (718861)

  3. Studying science is inherently aspirational. It is exclusionary like that, but the dirty socialists and their war on science aren’t teaching kids what they think they’re teaching kids.

    This might could help our poor blinkered scientist caste finally become sensitized to the not so very disguised fascist impulses of their dirty socialist masters.

    happyfeet (e9e587)

  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harrison_Bergeron

    Maybe we will have an “Equality Czar” instead of the “Handicapper General.”

    Eric Blair (ddbceb)

  5. Just another nail in the coffin of Public Ed, courtesy of the Progressive Movement.

    The Ed establishment promises time after time that they will make it all better if the voters will just give them the chance and not divert any funding to private schools via vouchers;
    suburban parents vote down vouchers since the schools that their kids go to are doing well;
    the kids in the inner-city and other low performing districts take it in the shorts as more and more of their funding is directed to core subjects;
    and the measurements of learning achievement decline year after year.

    But, hey, they’ve all got great retirement plans.

    AD - RtR/OS! (bc0d93)

  6. How about we just give the minority kids “A”s in lab instead. This will 1) make labs more important to minorities, even though they don’t have to attend, 2) raise the GPA of minorities, and 3) allow kids who want to go on to a career in science or engineering to have a chance at college.

    Frankly, I’d pull the accreditation of a high school district that did this.

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  7. 10-1 odds Asians=White!

    I was invited to be on one of those councils for the local HS, (yes THE local HS), tiny town that it is.

    It was an interesting experience, probably the closest to committing mass murder or suicide I’ve ever been!

    I was totally appalled at many of our discussions and fears of those in charge of our school.

    If the minorities are not inclined to take certain classes, BFD! They can extra credit classes in, “Would you like fries with that”!?

    TC (0b9ca4)

  8. I wonder what the racial breakdown of the varsity basketball teams is, and if the council would be worried if it did not comport exactly to the racial composition of the entire student body. Just wondering.

    JVW (0fe413)

  9. (1)White kids are something like 33% of California students. They are the minority.
    (2) 10-1 odds Asians=White!

    Steve Sailor has looked it up — BHS is for some strange reason only 8% Asian.

    (3) The shocked ‘outrage’ is useless. Demography = destiny, and whites have birth controlled themselves and open bordered themselves into oblivion.

    a concerned conservative (70dd00)

  10. How about we just give the minority kids “A”s in lab instead.

    My thought was to give all the kids taking science class D’s. Then the disparity would disappear!

    Either way, the staff at Berzerkly High would have a great career ahead of them in Climatology!

    iconoclast (e235f2)

  11. The science is settled, so it makes sense to do away with the science stuff.

    Science is hard. Indoctrination is much easier.

    Rev. Dr. E. Buzz Miller (72836b)

  12. Not all change is good, Mr. President.

    tyree (9d7ff3)

  13. So I guess its better to lower the performance of the white kids so the minorities and school board will feel better about themselves.

    MJS (c4f8dc)

  14. US high school students are last or near last in the world in every category except self esteem.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  15. Mmmm, the soft bigotry of lowered expectations.

    interesting counterpoint… two african american students and their families got $150,000 in a settlement agaisnt their school in South Carolina. They claimed that the majority african american students they went to school with subjected them to severe harrassment because they tried to actually get an education and this was seen as “acting white.”

    http://www.dolanmedia.com/view.cfm?recID=552049

    At first blush I thought, “well, good.” But on the other hand, it made me wonder how much good it could possibly do. i mean how do you change cultural attitudes like that?

    Btw, exit question to those who claim that black people cannot be racists: how is this kind of crap not racist? And the fact it is self-hating doesn’t mean a damn.

    A.W. (e7d72e)

  16. As Obama essentially admitted about his plan to increase capital gains taxes, it’s not about a policy that works (in this case, about increasing knowledge about science). What matters more is “fairness.”

    Mitch (e40959)

  17. Make the kids take science classes.
    I had to take biology, chemistry and
    physics for at least two years each.

    I went to a private school.

    Jack (e383ed)

  18. When I went to high school in Nowheresville, Ohio, right outside of Youcantgettherefromhere, Ohio, we had Honors courses. In those courses the gpa was shifted to take into account the greater difficulty in the work. On a 4-point scale, an A was a 5.0 and a D was a 2.0. Also, some kids traveled across the lawn to the Christian college next door to take college courses during high school hours. Those courses, too, were weighted in the same fashion. Our valedictorian graduated with a 4.25 on a 4.0 scale. I graduated with a 3.45.

    Years later, the school decided it was unfair to the self-esteem of those not in the weighted classes to not have the same gpa opportunity. So the school de-weighted the gpa. My 3.45 I had when I graduated dropped to 3.20 many years after I left.

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  19. Don’t worry, A.W. Learned folks like SEK will explain to you that the black kids harassing other black kids for studying—acting “white”—is actually due to white racism. It’s all about The Narrative. It takes a special kind of intellectual to play that kind of Logical Twister.

    Sigh.

    Eric Blair (24122d)

  20. “Regression to the mean” is not supposed to be inflicted.

    Paging Harrison Bergeron – you’re table is —- BIZZZZAPPPPPCLANGCLANGCLANG – is … is … r-ready

    BumperStickerist (4ccc78)

  21. I took honors classes, too – but not in the science and math disciplines, believe me. Struggled mightily with Chem, Algebra and Trig – not in the genes. But because of the honors courses I tested out of 18 hours of redundant Frosh classes like Speech and History – so you basically get an entire semester free before you even attend college. I don’t know why more HS students aren’t aware of this payoff; well worth the trouble, if you ask me.

    Dmac (a964d5)

  22. Just remember, punish the behavior you want to advance and reward the behavior you want to prevent.

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  23. I remember my days in high school. The students that showed up on time and sober got the better grades while there were others who spent the day at school smoking pot.

    If you want to level the playing field. Start giving the AP classes medical marijuana.

    Alta Bob (e8af2b)

  24. “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

    US high school students are last or near last in the world in every category except self esteem.

    Right there is reason #1 why this plan is completely stupid–what the hell else are a bunch of subliterate, MTV-worshipping, PS3/XBox360-obsessed, over-entitled kids going to do when it comes to “improving” education–make the curriculum more difficult in order to enhance their education? Yeah, right. I’d be amazed if their input wasn’t “get rid of that icky science altogether, not just the labs, and the rest of that nasty book-learning in other subjects too; knowing how to read is racist.”

    Most high school students (especially in the post-Department of Education era) are ignoramuses, plain and simple. The last thing they should be doing is telling adults how to develop an educational curriculum, when they couldn’t even spell “cat” unless you spotted them the c and the t.

    This is simply another branch of the cult of youth-worship the baby-boomers started, and proceeding generations have ramped up beyond all reasonable measure.

    Another Chris (2d8013)

  25. Where is the outrage from the minority parents and students at this obvious insult to their intelligence? Again, the lowest common denominator is the favored child and more money will be spent attempting to bring them *up to the level* of their white counterparts because obviously, they don’t have the ability, intelligence, or power to take master these classes.

    With this thinking, why not just remove *hard* classes altogether or better yet, why even require minority students to go to high school; why not just give them a 4-year passing grade ahead of time?

    Dana (f64b7d)

  26. Artful Dana, that’s mighty white of you to say. You’re keeping the Indians (feather) down by your white-ist remarks, you know that?

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  27. Why not have the white kids tutor the low achievers instead? Oops, racist.

    Anecdote: a friend of mine went to a Venice grade school to enroll her kid in 1st grade, and they told her she might be put in a Spanish-speaking classroom. When my friend asked why–they are obviously Caucasian Americans–the teacher said that to pick kids to be in the class based on ethnicity would be discriminatory!

    Off to private school.

    Patricia (b05e7f)

  28. My sister in law started teaching history and social studies at Berkeley High School in 1965; in those days snagging a teaching assignment at Berkeley High School was a prize plum for a freshly minted teacher. It was one of the great high schools in California .

    Leave the forever wierd politics of Berkeley aside. Berkeley High has always had a town and gown problem. The kids from the West Berkeley flats are largely poor and black and with rise of the Black Panthers (a hometown Berkeley Oakland group)and general social unrest, became increasingly uninterested or antagonistic to “whitey’s education”. On the other hand, the kids from the Berkeley Hills were white and bright–the sons and daughters of University of California professors and lecturers, with a sprinkling of sons and daughters of relatively wealthy professionals who worked in San Francisco. Those kids tended to be strivers and high achievers regardless of how much, or how little, actual intellectual horsepower they had. That’s one reason why a teaching assignment at Berkeley High was a plum prize.

    That’s a volatile mix, and over the years, Berkeley High became something of a war zone between the groups. Most of the teachers were what I might call fruitcake liberals–just your average Berkeley denizen.

    The result of all this pc horseshit is that bright white or Asian kids whose parents could afford private school tuition went to private schools–and left Berkeley High behind. For my sister in law–just as big a fruitcake liberal as any other Berkeley denizen, the strain of teaching in this racial and social whirlpool ultimately wore her down–she stayed there for 30 plus years, but at the end of the period she was only teaching a class or two a day.

    And now–for the kids left behind who couldn’t afford a private school education–comes the final blow. Advanced science classes and science labs are or will be cancelled–so uniformity of opportunity and equality of results will be enforced.

    Mike Myers (3c9845)

  29. This is the same reasoning our government uses when it refuses to selectively search for possible jihadists based upon national origin, religion, political leanings, and ethnicity. It is also the same reasoning that Robespierre used to execute a large portion of the Parisian citizenry.

    These folks will not stop, until they are prevented from doing any more damage to the country. Leftists are not capable of acting in the public interest in the way that normal people understand the term.

    trentk269 (3969c4)

  30. “Where is the outrage from the minority parents and students at this obvious insult to their intelligence?”

    They’re probably the type who say, “what’s my kid going to do with science class IN REAL LIFE?” Damn that bloody mantra. We’ve being undone by that mentality.

    cassandra in MT (5a5d33)

  31. Oh, heck, lemme see if my weak internet connection lets me find that NYC violin teacher movie.

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  32. The educators focus on the disparity between blacks and whites as the problem. Actually the problem is that they can’t get the black kids to take the higher level courses. Eliminating the higher level courses doesn’t really help to solve the problem, once the problem is properly defined.

    Mike S (d3f5fd)

  33. Music of the Heart is the movie. And the trailer has a short snippet that fits here.

    I was also reminded of another movie, The Freedom Writers, which sorta kinda fits here. And here’s the trailer for that movie.

    I would suggest Berzerkely educrats learn from what actually worked in those stories. Hint: a strive toward excellence and “race” blindness.

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  34. Go figure, leftists afraid of science, shutting down science.

    Rev. Dr. E. Buzz Miller (b8a8f0)

  35. “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 Berkeley High School restricts science labs for white students?

    That does not even pass the “separate but equal” tyest in Plessy , nevermind Brown .

    Michael Ejercito (b0a575)

  36. Since black students are better basketball players will the ‘regime’ snip a tendion in each blacks ankle so they can’t run and jump? Sounds as fair as their solution to real education.

    Scrapiron (4e0dda)

  37. Tangentially, this reminds me of Los Angeles Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas blaming the Health Dept. for not doing enough outreach to encourage the Black/Latino community to get their H1N1 vaccines. He based this upon the very low turnout at clinics in his predominantly minority district.

    How unfortunate that Mark Ridley Thomas reinforces that soft bigotry of low expectation: He assumed that because a high percentage of minorities did not get the vaccine that it *had* to be someone else’s fault and couldn’t possibly be because his constituents did their own looking into the H1N1 vaccine via news (radio, tv), newspapers, library resources, internet, talking to a public health person or their child’s school nurse, etc, and then being fully informed, opted against the vaccine.

    Why couldn’t and wouldn’t he think the best of them? Why did he assume they were incapable or incompetent or unable to do the homework most people do for themselves thus making their own informed decision? All of the resources available to everyone else are also available to them. This bigotry has weakened an entire community if not nation. And when it comes from the top down, it’s an even more effective tool. Shame on it’s acceptance.

    Dana (f64b7d)

  38. #29 is correct, “Leftists are not capable of acting in the public interest in the way that normal people understand the term.”

    Moreover, Leftists refuse to learn from experience. The most recent public failure has been dismissed as “systemic” in nature by the head knuckle dragger on yet another expensive vacation. This follows on the heels of Janet Napolitano’s masterful analysis and reanalysis of her agency’s security system: The system worked before it failed. (And, mind you, we pay these slack jawed monkeys good money.)

    As for problems at Berkeley High, could it be that too many parents who have lived and prospered on grants and entitlements have passed the family’s successful traditions down to the next generation?

    Who needs science anyway, politics controls funding, and funding has a peculiar way of producing a consensus. It settles things down, eliminates unruly competition, and gives bureaucrats clear guidelines. We’ve all learned a thing or two about that by now, or, well, all of us who are capable of learning that is.

    ropelight (58ef71)

  39. And actually, this will work better than they think. The more they dumb down the curriculum, the more the brighter kids will tend to leave the public schools for private ones. A two-fer effect!

    After a while, the public schools will have lost all the good students and teachers, and test scores will be uniform and bad.

    This will be called “bad luck.”

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  40. In stead of dropping the labs, maybe Bezerkely should institute real student unions. Then the kids could strike for all A’s, free lunch, and sex with the cheerleaders.

    PCD (1d8b6d)

  41. There is no idea too stupid for an Education Doctorate to propose in public.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  42. :facepalm: Other than that, Eric Blair beat me to it in #4.

    htom (412a17)

  43. The soft bigotry of low expectations isn’t what came to my mind when I read this… Churchill’s quote about socialism being the equal distribution of misery is far more apt.

    chaos (9c54c6)

  44. Liberals have never been able to accept the statistic that the average intelligence test score of blacks is less than whites (and even more so for Asians.) Therefore the system is broke and MUST BE FIXED. I first observed the liberals tying their brains in knots over this in 1970 and its never changed. I now expect 50 moronic claims of racism because liberals are incapable of accepting results that contradict their world view. One would have better results presenting such information to a pile rocks than to a liberal. (Which says a lot about the relative intelligence of rocks and liberals.)

    snookered (6f83c5)

  45. There’s a reason Berkeley is nicknamed “Beserk-ly.”

    The utter idiocy (and phoniness) of leftists — of limousine liberals in particular — never ceases to amaze me. The sad thing is they make a big mess of things and when the going gets tough, they pack up and move the hell out of the places they’ve destroyed. Or, as is true of many public-school teachers, they enroll their precious children in private schools.

    Mark (411533)

  46. White kids are a pretty small — and continually dwindling — minority in Cali public schools. Now they are apparently a despised minority also. Bet your bottom dollar the Asians wouldn’t let this happen to their kids (of course, Asians don’t let themselves become minorities in their own countries either — how many immigrants admitted yearly to Korea, for example?)

    a concerned conservative (70dd00)


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