Parents tear into ‘equity obsessed’ school board for nixing honors classes: ‘You don’t know what you’re doing’

(Video Credit: Fox News)

Parents expressed their outrage at a Barrington, Rhode Island, public school board meeting over the implementation of a so-called “equity and inclusion” agenda that is nullifying the academic standards of the school district meant to prep students for attending Ivy League schools or to receive scholarships.

A system of universal learning called de-leveling was put in place at Barrington for students with learning disabilities and Individualized Education Programs (IEP). During the pandemic, in February of 2020, the school removed some of its conceptual classes. Parents ostensibly did not object because they did not want to expose their children for having some sort of disability or for needing a social accommodation.

“I don’t think I would ever be a fan of de-leveling, but the timing [to implement it during COVID] is what makes it very suspicious to me. So it just felt like it was an easy way for them to get their agenda through without pushback because people were so busy dealing with other stuff,” an anonymous mother told Fox News Digital, commenting on the damage that de-leveling has caused he daughter and how her grades have declined because of it.

“It [took away] any kind of individuality … or … personalized education plan for kids. It’s ‘you’re just going to be some homogenized like education factory where they raise everybody’s the same,'” she asserted.

The school announced that both honors English and social studies were no longer available. Many parents on both sides of the political spectrum were reportedly enraged after honors students were targeted. They argued that removing the honors classes stripped their children of a competitive edge and potential future opportunities such as merit scholarships.

Tensions boiled over at a March 30 meeting where more than a dozen parents and students vented their anger at the school board.

“My daughter has lost out on opportunities which could affect merit scholarships for her, which I think is appalling … You don’t really know what you’re doing on this,” one mother angrily told the board.

“You guys are doing this for someone like me. My parents … didn’t speak English … Nobody asked me. Like, I’m the person that you’re supposedly trying to help. So you guys have your own idea of what diversity, equity, and inclusion means, and it doesn’t take into account an actual person that has been through some of the worst public schools in Chicago, lives in neighborhoods where people are shooting each other, drug dealers and gang members … That’s where I grew up till I was about 12. So how come no one is asking me? I have a lot to share,” a parent who identified himself as a dentist with immigrant parents from Mexico asked the board.

“If you guys really believe in [equity], then pick an average or below average dentist and see what you get. But you guys get the ratings, and you pick the best that’s available. And you know what? For some fields, that’s what you need. You need the best. And I’m here to speak about that … It’s embarrassing that you guys have done this,” he charged.

“Barrington administrators hired a consultant to justify this … And yet no one thought about the impact this would have on kids applying for financial aid or for college admissions. Not one top school in our state or Massachusetts has gotten rid of honors. Not one. And our consultant that you hired is all proud that we were going to be the first one. I’m not sure that’s something we want to be proud of,” another father stated.

Katie Novak, who is a consultant that has worked with Barrington, believes de-leveling allows for the dismantlement of “ableist structures.”

“Too many individuals and schools support oppressive and ableist structures where access to advanced coursework is a privilege that students have to earn,” Novak wrote in a post. “All students deserve opportunities to access grade-level instruction and become expert learners and this is not possible when we continue to track students in different levels based on antiquated models of school success.”

Since implementing these progressive policies, Barrington has dropped from 189th in high school rankings nationwide to #308 in 2022.

“De-leveling is part of an agenda of equalizing outcomes. This equal-results approach stems from Critical Race Theory and diversity, equity, and inclusion, which posit that unequal outcomes are the result of systemic bias and discrimination. ‘Equity’ in particular is the codeword for bringing high achievers down to equalize outcomes,” Bill Jacobson, a long-time Barrington resident and the founder of Legal Insurrection, told Fox News. “‘Equity’ has become an unhealthy obsession, and parents are seeing the impact.”

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