Our editorial board weighed in today on the controversy at Berkeley High, where parcel tax money that pays for after-school, college-prep science labs might instead fund extra teachers to work with struggling students.
At the core of the issue is the stubborn achievement gap between the school’s white students and its black and Latino students. In the 1980s, voters approved the parcel tax money in question to help bridge the gap, but it remains as wide as ever. Most of the students who participate in the after-school science program are white.
The Trib editorial argues that eliminating these rigorous labs is the wrong way to address the racial disparity. It suggests a different approach: recruiting more non-white students to the program.
Another idea the district is considering is to shift $3 million in state funds to a new, technology-focused charter school for struggling students.
The equity questions raised in the Berkeley High debate remind me of the “two high schools” said to exist at Oakland Tech: the top-notch academies, some of them selective, and the rest of the school.
What do you think Berkeley High should do with its parcel tax money? Do you think it needs to create a separate school to help its low-achievers?
image from Jeremy Franklin’s photostream at flickr.com/creativecommons