Several school districts across the country are no longer allowing students to take honors classes in an effort to increase equity, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Culver City High School in California recently axed honors classes because the courses were failing to enroll enough black and Latino students, according to the WSJ. Other school districts such as Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District in California, and Patrick Henry High School in California, made similar shifts to their honors classes to increase equity.
“This is not a social experiment,” Jon Kean, a Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School Board member, said ahead of the district’s removal of the classes, according to the WSJ. “This is a sound pedagogical approach to education.”
The school districts say students who don’t take the courses when first given the option believe they can never enroll in an honors class, the WSJ reported. On average, black and Latino students enroll less in the accelerated classes.
Before dropping honors classes from the school district, the Culver City School Board said students who were not in the honors classes felt less successful, motivated and “unable to break out of the molds that they established when they were 11,” the WSJ reported.
At Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, honors English classes were eliminated because teachers felt they had “a moral imperative” to do so to ensure equity for minority students, the WSJ reported. Eliminating the classes “has increased access and provided excellent educational experiences for all of our students,” the school district told the WSJ.
Patrick Henry High School brought back its American literature and U.S. history classes after community members spoke out against the axing of the courses, according to the WSJ.
The Madison School Board in Wisconsin made the decision to keep its honors classes but allow freshmen to earn honors credits in courses that were not accelerated, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. A Rhode Island school removed honors classes but similarly allowed students to earn honor credit on their transcripts within non-accelerated classes, the WSJ reported.
“We really feel equity means offering opportunities to students of diverse backgrounds, not taking away opportunities for advanced education and study,” Joanna Schaenman, a Culver City parent, told the WSJ.
Culver City High School, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, Patrick Henry High School and Madison School District did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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