Another California district axes honors classes in the name of equity

Parents in a California school district are protesting the high school for cutting honors classes in the name of racial equity.

Culver City High School’s decision was made because “teachers looked at their AP enrollment and realized black and brown kids were not there,” according to Quoc Tran, the superintendent of 6,900-student Culver City Unified School District, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“They felt obligated to do something,” Tran added.

But many parents disagree with the district’s solution, arguing it hurts students of all backgrounds.

“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 local parent who helped organize the protest.

Honors classes are widely held to prepare students for college and help them be more competitive in college admissions.

Culver City’s cuts were precipitated when a group of English teachers at the school presented data to the school board that showed black and Hispanic students were underrepresented in honors classes. 

The teachers also presented anonymous quotes by non-honors students who said they “felt less motivated or successful” because they weren’t included in the classes that emphasized motivation and success.

Consequently, the school cut freshman and sophomore honors classes in English to ensure students are taught with what the Journal calls “an equal level of rigor,” even if an equal level now means a lesser level.

For parent Pedro Frigola, the emphasis on racial identity rather than academics reminds him of the communist regime he escaped when he fled his native home.

“I was born in Cuba, and it doesn’t sound good when people are trying to achieve equal outcomes for everyone,” Frigola told the Journal.

Culver City isn’t the only California school to lower the bar in the name in equity.

Last year, Patrick Henry High School in San Diego riled parents and students by making similar cuts to honors classes.

Students staged a walkout and skipped lunch in protest. They also hit the administration for violations of district policy, which is supposed to include a wide variety of input in decisions about curriculum, including input from students and parents, according to local KATV.

Patrick Henry subsequently restored some classes, but the main cuts remained.

In Culver City, the effect of the protest remains to be seen.