California School Parents Fight Against Unnecessary Racial Equity Initiative

A California high school has canceled its honors English classes, and it says the move is to align the school’s programs with racial equity. But parents are not having it, as they say, that advanced, merit-based education and study have nothing to do with racial equity.

Culver City High School authorities said that the decision to replace the honors Advanced Placement classes, which are optional for freshmen and sophomores, would help tear down a tiered system in which Black and Latino students are discouraged from enrolling.

According to the school, honors classes usually do not have enough Black and Latino students. While the AP classes give students that opt for it a solid push in their attempts to gain admission into college, the district believes that eliminating it is the best course of action as they say students of all races should get an “equal, rigorous education.”

Parents, however, disagree with the district’s view, arguing that it is not the school’s responsibility to achieve equal outcomes for every student as long as it makes opportunities open to all its students. According to parent Pedro Frigola from Cuba, “it doesn’t sound good when people are trying to achieve equal outcomes for everyone.”

Parent Joanna Schaenman, who is leading the effort, said that the school’s decision does nothing to help students of minority races. Talking to the Wall Street Journal, Schaenman said that equity, to parents, “means offering opportunities to students of diverse backgrounds, not taking away opportunities for advanced education and study.”

In place of the canceled honors classes, the school now offers the same level of English class, called “College Prep,” to all students in their junior and senior years. However, parents are not satisfied with the replacement.

Frigola’s daughter, Emma, who is a ninth grader, said that teachers in the current uniform English class select topics for students’ research papers. The teachers also gather resources for students, unlike the honors English classes, where students are allowed to select their research topics and gather sources.

While the replacement has already been carried out and students are taking the uniform courses already, parents are requesting a reversal of the move and asking the district to reinstate the classes, which they believe is an elevated stepping stone for their children’s entry into college.