Old-school Berkeleyite 
Member since Feb 4, 2010


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Re: “Berkeley Science Labs Compromise?

From the article:
"The deal would still allow the high school to free up funds to address its huge racial achievement gap."

I'd laugh if I wasn't so busy weeping.

Berkeley has been throwing money at the "racial achievement gap" for over 40 YEARS with absolutely no effect -- in fact, worse than no effect, because the gap has only grown worse despite all the ill-conceived efforts and wasted money.

I was attending Berkeley high School in 1968, which was the year that "everything changed" and the BUSD went from a normal American school district to one devoted to progressive ideals. Starting that very year, the curriculum was changed to address "black issues," all in attempt to get the black students more interested in school and thereby raise their grades. Guess what? Didn't work.

Ever since then, relentlessly, year after year after year for four decades, a continuous barrage of policies and proposals have been implemented all with the same goal: The even out the academic results of the black and white students. Since I've had relative and friends and then children of relatives and friends attending Berkeley High School practically every year since I attended, I've had a front-seat view of the sometimes bizarre and futile efforts to "close the racial achievement gap."

In the '70s the first idea was to end "tracking," whereby good students used to go into good classes and poor students went into remedial classes. End result: ALL students did worse without tracking, since the bad students rendered the classrooms unusable for learning, while still themselves being unable to handle the middle-of-the-road curriculum. Then they reinstituted voluntary tracking where there were gradated levels of instruction, but students could choose which level they wanted. End result: White students took the hard classes, black students took the easy classes, and their grades continued to fall.

That was deemed racist as well, just like the current science lab situation, so they ended voluntary tracking and moved on to the next experiment. Meanwhile, the curriculum in ALL the classes was more and more changed to focus on black-this and black-that: history was all black history, literature was all black literature. Black Studies Departments were founded and then floundered.

Then special tutoring for black students was offered. Then an unspoken easier grading scale, whereby blacks students were passed through with high grades for just showing up at base-level classes, while the rest of the student body was graded as normal in regular classes.

And on and on and on and on it has gone from 1968 to the present with countless millions of dollars absolutely SQUANDERED on ridiculous social experiments to alleviate an intractable problem with "solutions" which have no chance of succeeding.

And now it's 2010 and suddenly everyone's saying, as if the idea has never occurred to them before, "Hey, we've got to dumb down the school and spend money on black-only programs in order to eliminate the racial achievement gap!"

FAIL. We've been going down this road every year for four decades and it DOESN'T WORK. Berkeley High went from being one of the best schools in the state to being barely average.

Stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it.

Want to make ALL grades and test scores go up, without spending an extra dime? Make ALL classes academically demanding. Strictly enforce tardiness and truancy rules. Expel students who cut class or disrupt. Give honest grades. Offer voluntary after-school tutoring for any student of any race who seeks it out. Dispose of the PC garbage "pimp psychology" classes contaminating the existing black class schedules at BHS (and yes, there is indeed a class for black students at BHS that teaches about "pimp psychology"; just one example of many insulting curricula designed to "make school relevant for black students").

Will my solution improve grades for black students? Definitely. Will it eliminate the "achievement gap." Almost certainly not. And here' s why: It can't be eliminated. The white and Asian students will continue to excel despite any efforts to ensure their failure on the part of the administration.

The white students at BHS are the children of professors and intellectuals who are naturally bright and inquisitive. Many of the black students at BHS are the children of broken inner-city families in Oakland and Richmond who use a relative's address in Berkeley to fraudulently enroll their kids in a school that is at least better than the horrifying Oakland and Richmond schools. Will grown-up crack babies ever be able to compete with the children of Nobel Prize winners, regardless of the curriculum or how much money is thrown at them? Probably not.

Stop this madness and get a clue.

Posted by Old-school Berkeleyite on 02/04/2010 at 10:57 AM

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