Multiculturalism has gone berserk at Berkeley High School, writes William Briggs on Pajamas Media. The school board may cut before- and after-school science labs that extend instruction time by 20 percent. After all, most advanced science students are white and Asian-American.
But there’s plenty of time and money, Briggs writes, for the required History of the Americas course and Globalization, in which students “draft a more effective decision-making mechanism of world government.” Students also can take Politics and Power (“large run” by students) and Contemporary La Raza History.
Popular Culture in 20th Century America . . . examines “texts” as diverse as mural paintings, street theater, rap music, women’s art, immigrant stories, and MTV to analyze their role in shaping American society. Popular Culture is designed to teach students skills in critically examining the historical role of popular culture in defining racial issues, the regulation of sexuality, and consumer society. It also explores popular forms of resistance to the dominant culture.
If no room is left in the “Eco-Literacy and Social Justice Seminar,” kids might opt for the fall-back “Social Justice Seminar,” where the question “What can I do to bring about social change for a more just society?” is answered.
. . . BHS will surely keep all offerings from its African American Department. There, students can open their minds with “African American Journalism” or “Advanced African American Journalism.” From their course descriptions, these appear to be identical in substance with non-African American Journalism courses (which BHS also offers). Just as the course “African American Economics” doesn’t differ from non-African American Economics.
. . . Black Psychology— whose major objective “is to impart a clear knowledge of what African-Centered thought is” — could be that easy “A” a lot of kids seek because it “is not a lecture course.” Major “emphasis is on classroom discussion.” What is cooler than sitting around and grieving?
Berkeley High has the “largest racial equity/achievement gap in the state,” notes San Francisco Chronicle columnist Debra Saunders. The plan to eliminate science labs “bolstered the common suspicion that some educators want to close the achievement gap by dumbing down public schools.”
As Peggy Scott, a governance council parent who voted against the plan, told KQED Forum’s Michael Krasny on Wednesday, “Closing the achievement gap really means bringing the bottom up, and the problem is that it does seem and it does feel like what might be happening is trying to bring the top down.”