Seattle School Board's Brilliant Idea: Punishing Excellence For The Sake Of "Equality"

By Javier Sanchez | Friday, 05 April 2024 05:15 AM
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The Seattle public school system has made the controversial decision to phase out certain schools dedicated to nurturing the city's most promising students, often referred to as the "gifted and talented."

These students are typically seen as the ones who will yield the highest return on investment for Seattle and Washington taxpayers. However, the school board's decision seems to contradict this logic.

The reason behind this move? An overrepresentation of white and Asian students in these schools.

Beginning in the 2021-22 academic year, the district initiated the process of closing down its Highly Capable Cohort schools and classrooms for advanced students. The decision was based on the perceived racial disparities within these institutions. According to data from Seattle Public Schools, in the 2022-23 academic year, 52 percent of the highly capable students were white, 16 percent were Asian, and a mere 3.4 percent were black. The school board argued that black and Hispanic students were significantly underrepresented.

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This decision has sparked a debate about the fairness of depriving high-achieving students of opportunities based on their racial background. Critics argue that it would be more beneficial to investigate why certain students are performing at higher levels. Factors such as family influence, neighborhood environment, and diet could be contributing to these disparities. Rather than resorting to a "lowest common denominator" approach to education, these critics suggest a more nuanced investigation into the root causes of these disparities.

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However, it appears that the current education system is more focused on maintaining a certain racial balance than on nurturing academic excellence.

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Interestingly, a group of parents of "students of color" proposed a similar idea to the school board, only to be met with a racially charged insult.

The impact of these advanced programs on students' educational trajectories can be significant. For instance, my wife, who attended a test-in, advanced high school in Maryland, graduated early and went to college at 16. She graduated with a degree in Agricultural Animal Sciences and maintained a strong GPA. Our four children also benefited from special programs for high-achieving students, which prepared them well for further education and their eventual careers.

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However, it seems that the current focus of the education system is more on achieving the right racial mix in classrooms than on fostering academic achievement. Parents who object to this approach are often subjected to racially charged insults.

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The primary goal of the education system should be to equip young adults with marketable skills. However, in this regard, Seattle, like many other places, appears to be falling short. The decision to phase out schools for gifted and talented students based on racial disparities raises questions about the priorities of the education system and its commitment to nurturing the city's most promising students.

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