Berkeley High School has long faced a stubborn achievement gap between its white and minority pupils. What to do? At a recent meeting of the school's governance council, a proposal was put forward to eliminate science labs, which predominantly serve high-achievers, so as to redirect resources to underperforming students. Though the measure is only in its infancy, a council vote on whether or not to consider the idea was virtually unanimously in favor. Not a good sign. BHS presently offers twenty-six lab classes (out of ninety-eight total science classes), in subjects from chemistry to human anatomy and physiology. Science teachers at the school are understandably aghast but council member Paul Gibson claims that information presented to the council makes it sound like the labs are mostly populated by white students. Even if that's so, isn't the answer to make rigorous labs more accessible to minority students, rather than to jettison an effective learning environment for their peers? And even for race- and class-obsessed Berkeley, isn't this a bridge too far?
"Berkeley High May Cut Out Science Labs," by Eric Klein, East Bay Express, December 23, 2009