Dumbing Down

By lex, on November 27th, 2010

When an honors English teacher in Chicagoland’s Evanston Township scans his freshman class, he notes a demographic that is conspicuous by its absence: Minorities.

There are two ways to solve this “diversity” “problem”: The school district could work harder to prepare incoming diversities for the rigors of honors English, or they could fast-track higher performing minorities into the class and spend extra time doing remedial instruction before or after class. But the first way is hard, while the second borders on an exclusionary and controversial quota system that could tie the district up in court. Educators at Evanston Township apparently aren’t into doing the hard work, and they’re loathe to be sued.

So they’ve found a third way, ** the clever beasts:

One of the most racially mixed high schools in Illinois, Evanston has a mission of embracing diversity and promoting equity and excellence for all students. But its own data show that few minority students make it into the school’s most rigorous courses that will best prepare them for college and the future…

Across the Chicago region, high school officials say they are making inroads in diversifying their advanced classes, but Evanston is considering the boldest step of all: eliminating an elite honors English course that has traditionally been offered to the highest-achieving incoming freshmen — usually white…

For the most part, freshmen of all races and socioeconomic and achievement backgrounds would learn together in the same freshman humanities class, an English course that blends literature, history, art, music and philosophy and is required for graduation. The class would be taught at the honors level, according to district officials, and all students would have the opportunity to earn honors credit depending on their grades on assignments.

The superachievers — freshmen who outscore about 95 percent of their peers nationally on eighth-grade achievement tests — would no longer have their own class, beginning next fall. A year later, the same approach would be taken with freshman biology classes, if the school board approves the proposal.

Elegant, ain’t it?

**  10-14-2018 Original link gone; replacement found – Ed.

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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, by lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Neptunus Lex, Politics and Culture

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