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San Diego Unified schools are facing a crisis of intentionally designed mediocrity.
The desire to slash honors courses and upend traditional grading stems from the same bad philosophy animating its top leaders.
Their vision is captured by Marcia Gentry, director of the Gifted Education Resource Institute at Purdue, who claims that a test is “not really a raw ability test. Otherwise it would yield equal numbers among all groups of people.” In this line of thinking tests are clearly racist because as of today there are outcome disparities associated with race.
In a recent article in the San Diego Union Tribune, Richard Barrera, trustee on the San Diego Unified School District argued that determining a student’s intelligence via a test is “silly.” The paper paraphrased, saying he described the tests as “outdated and rooted in racism.”
Barrera makes the argument that personal recommendations from parents and teachers are a better metric to judge a student’s educational capabilities than actual tests. Barrera is moving the district toward eliminating advanced honors courses, and toward a pass-fail based grading system, where nobody is allowed to fail, because