Honors class leads to diversity debate

School may drop advanced English class in diversity effort

Diane Rado
Chicago Tribune
11/23/2010

When he scans the faces in his honors science courses at Evanston Township High School, chemistry teacher William Farmer can easily see who’s missing: minority kids.

“Out of 26, you might have three nonwhite students,” he said.

One of the most racially mixed high schools in Illinois, Evanston has a mission of embracing diversity and promoting equity and excellence for all students. But its own data show that few minority students make it into the school’s most rigorous courses that will best prepare them for college and the future.

Honors classrooms dominated by white students have been common in Illinois and across the nation, a byproduct of a century-old and controversial tradition of tracking, or sorting, students into different levels of classes.

Across the Chicago region, high school officials say they are making inroads in diversifying their advanced classes, but Evanston is considering the boldest step of all: eliminating an elite honors English course that has traditionally been offered to the highest-achieving incoming freshmen — usually white.

The proposal has spurred an emotionally charged and race-tinged debate in the liberal, multiracial community that is home to Northwestern University.

Read the rest at the Chicago Tribune.

H/T Moonbattery, Excellence Crushed in the Name of Diversity

Comments are closed.