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AP and Honor Classes Awarded by Race?

General Election - Education
Getty Images by: Jeff J Mitchell

You would think that students would be selected by grades and course work to enter into AP and Honor classes, if so in one school you are wrong.

Fox News is reporting on a Virginia high school that actually sent a letter to parents and students informing them that they have added a criteria to how they decide to select students for their Advanced Placement and honors classes.  That new criteria is skin color, not only grades or some other way of determining competency in that course, but also skin color.

The letter sent from John Handley High School in Winchester Virginia stated:

Through our collective work, advanced classes such as AP and Honors will have proportional representation. Proportional representation is 40% White, 35% Hispanic, 12% African American, 10% mixed race.

Do you think that adding this criteria is that right thing to do?

The letter went on to state that they:

continue to see outcomes that are disproportionate by race and social class. American demographic trends indicate that America will be a majority minority nation in the next 25 years. Therefore, the new work of American public schools is to develop systems to address disparate outcomes.

Is the goal of a school to promote these outcomes or to select the most qualified students for these classes?

In response to questioning of this letter the spokesperson for the school district stated:

Our school division does not have, nor has it ever had, any policy that utilizes race for enrollment into honors or AP courses.  All students, regardless of race, must meet academic criteria to enroll in advanced level coursework.  Over the past years, the School Board has continued its focus on providing advanced level coursework as well as increasing advanced course offerings across a variety of disciplines.  The School Board has not contemplated, nor adopted, any policy or practice that utilizes race in determining which students can or cannot take such courses, or any other courses for that matter

The question will come down to how they implement this new policy.  Meaning if there is more students who meet the grade qualifications then there are seats, is it ok then to decide entrance into these classes via skin color.  That being siad if everything else is equal then would it be ok to choose acceptance into these AP and honor classes via skin color.

One father or a student was quoted in the article stating:

I felt powerless to help my child.  Seeing the look on his face when he realized that he was being judged by the color of his skin was agonizing.

It was my understanding that as a society we want to move away from judging someone by their skin color and move towards judging someone via the content of their character and in this case intelligence.

I guess I was wrong.

The Live with Renk show airs Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to noon, to let me know your thoughts call (269) 441-9595

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