Note: This article may contain commentary reflective of the author’s opinion.
Recently in Culver City, California, a group of parents pushed back against a “racial equity” initiative at a school board meeting. The parents argued the high school should reinstate honors courses for advanced students that had recently been eliminated from the curriculum. The school district decided to remove the honors courses due to a lack of black and latino students enrolled in them.
In the decision made earlier this year, the district elected to replace the honors classes with standard courses to ensure students of all racial backgrounds received the same universal educational opportunities, combining advanced students with the underperforming. This angered the parents of some students who feel their children were having their educational opportunities limited.
“We really feel equity means offering opportunities to students of diverse backgrounds, not taking away opportunities for advanced education and study,” said Joanna Schaenman, a Culver City parent who was at the helm of the effort. Parents nationwide are pushing back against similar woke “equity” policies that are manifesting in education. The Wall Street Journal reports:
The parental pushback in Culver City mirrors resistance that has taken place in Wisconsin, Rhode Island and elsewhere in California over the last year in response to schools stripping away the honors designation on some high school classes.
School districts doing away with honors classes argue students who don’t take those classes from a young age start to see themselves in a different tier, and come to think they aren’t capable of enrolling in Advanced Placement classes that help with college admissions. Black and Latino students are underrepresented in AP enrollment in the majority of states, according to the Education Trust, a nonprofit that studies equity in education.
Many, like these parents in Culver City, feel these policies are doing more harm than good. In a meritocratic society, the best and brightest students need to be given every opportunity to succeed at the highest level they can achieve. This version of society provides true fairness in the opportunity for endless achievement through one’s merit. The New York Post commented:
Here on the home front, there’s another war going on — this one against our kids’ education. Racial-equity warriors are canceling Advanced Placement courses and eliminating honors programs all across America. In some schools, they’re doing away with homework deadlines, attendance requirements and test scores. We’re told these changes will make school more inclusive for underperforming black and Latino students. Dismantling the school meritocracy is insane. It robs students — especially kids from low-income and immigrant households — of their best chance to get ahead.
It seems as if the concepts of “equity” and “equality” are used synonymously and interchangeably these days. However, they could not be more different since equity will give universal outcomes and equality will provide an equal opportunity based on merit. In Western society we are seeing evermore the embrace equity beyond just this example of high school education. For example, the American Bar Association voted to make the LSAT optional because having a standard for aptitude “hampered” diversity in top law schools. Moreover, airlines are looking to attract more diverse pilots.
As we place more emphasis on “diversity” instead of an individual’s competence, this could certainly lead to society becoming dysfunctional. Do we really want our doctors, pilots, engineers, and other critical roles in society to be selected on anything other than their ability to perform?
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