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  1. #1
    Oberon
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    Default Evanston School Shuts Down Honors Program Due to Lack of Diversity

    I couldn't believe this... at this high school there were too many whites and Asians in the honors program, and not enough blacks... so they shut down the program.

    Honors Class Leads to Diversity Debate

    Seems to me that the real answer here is to fix educational inequities at the elementary and middle-school levels, rather than taking away the honors class experience for everyone.

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    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    I couldn't believe this... at this high school there were too many whites and Asians in the honors program, and not enough blacks... so they shut down the program.

    Honors Class Leads to Diversity Debate


    Seems to me that the real answer here is to fix educational inequities at the elementary and middle-school levels, rather than taking away the honors class experience for everyone.
    That's probably easier said than done. Evanston has a mix of quite wealthy and not so wealthy areas which does directly translate into test scores which then translates into tracking.

    I think the students wil have plenty of opportunities to take all kinds of challenging AP and honors classes through the experience. Maybe I misread it, but it seemed to say that they were eliminating the tracking for freshman year English which in the broader scheme of things doesn't seem like such a big deal. English teaching in high school isn't very good in general which might be one much broader thing that needs to be addressed in a lot of places. It would be great if people who graduate would know how to write.

    Given the situation (low value for dollars spent), it seems they need to take some actions to effect change, some of which will no doubt be controversial.

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    ¡MI TORTA! Amethyst's Avatar
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    Personally I disagree with the entire 'honors program' not because there's a lack of diversity, but it seems that it's entirely based upon test scores that you got in 8th grade.


    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.

    That is just terrible, imo. There should be many more factors as to who should be accepted into honors programs...tests should be one of them, but not the only one.

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    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Speaking as someone who took advanced and remedial classes at the same time in High School....

    This is bullshit; gifted kids will be denied the opportunity to learn at their own pace and their attempts at enthusiastic participation (which serves to maintain a love of learning they were presumably raised with) will be smothered by the harassment by the majority of students who couldn't care less and think its cool not to care. Meanwhile, the average kids will feel overwhelmed and resentful of gifted kids who raise expectations within the classroom. Finally, the remedial kids with normal intelligence but who were raised to have poor study habits will find it that much harder to crawl out of the academic hole they are in (should they want to) because the inclusion of gifted kids in standard classrooms will have raised the bar.

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    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    My gifted classes in HS had no black people that I remember (maybe 1 in some classes?) and very few arab-looking people or other ethnicities (maybe 1-2, being generous, in classes of about 30). The rest of the school was pretty diverse. We had kids from at least one "low-income" area.

    I'm not going to speculate on why, other than many were immigrants and I can see that affecting test scores. I thought it was known that there is a "bias" towards white people on IQ tests, too (for whatever reason)?

    It's unfortunate that the class got cancelled. I appreciated the gifted program. Got rid of most of the disruptive kids with no future. The article says "all kids will have access to it" but in real life that means the kids who get it have to wait half the class for the teacher to explain it to the ones who don't "get it".
    -end of thread-

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    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    My gifted classes in HS had no black people that I remember (maybe 1 in some classes?) and very few arab-looking people or other ethnicities (maybe 1-2, being generous, in classes of about 30). The rest of the school was pretty diverse. We had kids from at least one "low-income" area.

    I'm not going to speculate on why, other than many were recent-ish immigrants and I can see that affecting test scores. I thought it was known that there is a "bias" towards white people on IQ tests, too (for whatever reason)?

    It's unfortunate that the class got cancelled. I appreciated the gifted program. Got rid of most of the disruptive kids with no future. The article says "all kids will have access to the honours program" but in real life that means the kids who "get it" have to wait half the class for the teacher to explain it to the ones who don't "get it".
    -end of thread-

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    Carerra Lu IZthe411's Avatar
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    I can relate- I was one of those few black kids in the gifted classes.

    But I think it's a good idea. I remember my HS had certain classes at a standard level in the 9th grade, and then as you moved up in years the separation began. It can either help or hurt. It's only a year.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but they don't start ranking you until your 10th grade year anyway, correct?

  8. #8
    Oberon
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    Reason no. 458 to homeschool.

  9. #9
    Tier 1 Member LunaLuminosity's Avatar
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    I agree that the problem is about the class being determined by a single test score from the 8th grade. I think some of the inequity would be alleviated right there by bringing in other factors for admission, like grades and recommendations.

    The way this works seems to be very different in different schools. At my school, in order to get into an honors or advanced placement class, you had to get an A in the previous class and be recommended by that teacher. If my test scores would determined my placement, I would've been in honors all the way through... even though I still had about a D average 6-9th grade. It wasn't until I got an A- in english in 11th grade that I could petition for advanced placement for 12th. I can't say much about the ethnic diverisity in those classes because there isn't that much diversity in this county, but there did seem to be a mix of low and middle income students in the advanced classes here.

    Also, I am confused about the talk of gifted classes here, as if they are interchangable. Here they are very different things. The gifted program is more of an independent study / show-off-and-have-fun thing for kids with good academic records and scores above a certain percentile in certain testing (sometimes standardized testing, sometimes IQ-type testing). I wonder if the class being talked about here is more like a gifted program than a honors class.

    I am concerned about there only being one level of class at this school. This would be awesome in an ideal world but in this world there are some high schoolers who can barely read at all and some who were reading Shakespeare at age 5, who will both be severly disadvantaged with only one class level with teachers who are not superhuman and tiny school bugdets.

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    Um, yeah, I don't think taking away the honors program completely is the solution to the problem...it seems to me like additional programs should be added on a lower level to benefit those who aren't getting what they need.

    I find this pretty horrifying, personally. Like American schools aren't already bottom of the barrel academically to begin with.

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