The War on Merit in America’s schools is spreading — and threatening to take an ever-bigger toll on kids’ education.
Last week, California’s Department of Education rolled out a draft framework for teaching math to K-12 students. The framework contains 13 chapters, most focused on (no joke) achieving “equity” through mathematics instruction. It would no longer group kids by ability, teach algebra to eighth graders or calculus to high schoolers or refer to gifted children as “gifted.”
California isn’t the only place, of course, that has tried to dumb down school curricula in an effort to treat all kids the same in order to pretend there’s no differences between them.
Every year in New York City, thousands of parents register their kids for the Gifted & Talented test for admission into a G&T program or school. The test is necessary to see if kids will be able to handle the more challenging curriculum.
Yet this year, the city’s Department of Education scrapped the test; kids apparently will be judged on less objective measures. And Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter similarly wants to ditch the admissions test for the city’s top high schools.
Look: Parents don’t have their kids apply for these programs because they are racist; they do it because they know the regular curriculum their kids get in regular city schools is weak. Math is usually a joke; reading and writing often even more so. A G&T program might mean their kid has to actually try to succeed, instead of just coasting through classes. Yet parents clamoring for more difficult work for their kids get called “racist.”
Not content with removing the G&T test, the DOE is now pushing to get rid of G&T programs themselves. Middle schools have already scrapped “screens,” such as test scores and grades, for admission this year in favor of lotteries. The city’s most competitive (and often best-performing) high schools constantly fear they’ll be forced to water down their standards.
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