If you’re keeping up with the running debate about changing the schedule at Berkeley High School, you’ll want to read all 11 pages of the latest action plan, submitted by teacher team leaders and principal Jim Slemp.
The action plan allows each of the small schools and programs to determine their own schedules to some extent. It still, however, eliminates 0 and 7th periods for science labs. According to some BHS science teachers, the reduction in time for science labs would mean that most students would not be able to take AP science classes without taking an introductory class in the subject first. So, for example, a first year student would take basic biology and then, in some subsequent year, take advanced biology. On the present schedule, students can leap straight into an advanced science because of the extra time for lab work.
The action plan makes clear that there are dramatic challenges faced by BHS:
This year Berkeley High was identified as the high school with the largest racial equity/achievement gap in the state. This is unconscionable.
There are many sensible points in the action plan about the importance of achieving greater equity at BHS. I do, however, think the school opens itself up to parody with the one historical figure it chooses to (mis)quote in its discussion of the meaning of equity:
From each according to his (or her) ability, to each according to his (or her) need.
Surely BHS doesn’t need to invoke Karl Marx in its drive for better outcomes for all of its students?