In a supposed effort to advance equity, a growing number of left-leaning school boards and administrators are pursuing policies that actively hold high-achieving students back.
Among the most recent examples of this trend is a push at California’s Santa Monica High School to eradicate its honors English program. Teacher Sarah Rodriguez is in favor of the change and has been advocating for it behind the scenes for well over a year.
Claiming that preventing gifted students from reaching their full potential is the only “fair” way to address performance disparities, she went on to declare her desire to recreate the educational process from the ground up.
“This is not about labeling students or labeling classes,” Rodriguez claimed. “What we’re doing is, we’re saying this is a new paradigm.”
Further explaining her position, the teacher expressed her belief that every student is “capable and we’re going to meet them where they are.”
Of course, that plan does not seem to involve “meeting” academically gifted students at their accelerated pace.
Similar shifts are in place at other schools, including in nearby Culver City where one concerned parent is upset over the skewed definition of fairness.
“We really feel equity means offering opportunities to students of diverse backgrounds, not taking away opportunities for advanced education and study,” declared Joanna Schaenman.
Another local mother spoke up during a school board meeting to lament that her son is “no longer challenged” in his high school classes. In response, she said school administrators “say it’s equity, they say that’s the reason and therefore it’s OK.”
In 2021, dozens of demonstrators showed up to protest an effort to eradicate the Gifted and Talented program at schools in New York City. Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio was behind that effort and elicited backlash from a number of prominent local advocates.
Maud Maron, who was a candidate for city council at the time, was among the protesters outside of the Department of Education.
Maud Maron (@maudmaron), former school board president of the largest school district in NYC, says schools are currently trying to get rid of advanced and honors classes quietly for "equity." Equity offers equal access to a broken system, nothing better. pic.twitter.com/SOCwoF1ckX
— James Lindsay, true conservative (@ConceptualJames) October 4, 2021
Instead of eliminating a program because of certain issues critics oppose, such as the reliance on standardized testing scores to determine eligibility, Maron and others advocated for necessary reforms and even wider access to the advanced curriculum.
“Expand the program for districts that didn’t have it,” she said at the time. “We need to include more children in the Gifted and Talented program.”