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Facing Parental Wrath, San Diego Area High School Reverses Plans to End Honors Courses

Facing Parental Wrath, San Diego Area High School Reverses Plans to End Honors Courses

One small win for San Diego parents, one big win for San Diego students.

Across the nation, parents are waking up to just how “woke” the American educational system has become and are getting involved on a scale that was unimaginable even a few, short years ago.

Once recent incident hit close to home. Patrick Henry High School is a San Diego area school that my step-daughter attended. My colleague Mike LaChance noted that it recently cut some honors classes without notice, all in the name of equity.

Angry parents quickly intervened.

On Thursday, the first listening session for Patrick Henry High School parents went beyond the slated 1-hour time frame.

Parents were able to speak their minds after Principal Michelle Irwin decided to cut honors courses, then most recently put a pause on the decision.

“We’re looking forward to hearing from you to make the best decisions for our students,” said Principal Irwin.

Other than the introduction, Irwin made no remarks during the entire session Thursday night, many wanted to hear from her.

“I’d like to know in this phone call, why Miss Irwin is not speaking to the parents because I wanted to hear from her, not to back up with everyone defending her. I’d like to know what pausing does for anyone including the students,” said parents on the call.

..[P]arents say cutting honors courses would make it even more challenging for kids trying to get into college.

Cutting honors courses essentially caps the grade point average at “4.0” and parents say that’s not enough to be competitive.

“My oldest just got in with a 4.5 GPA and she received a lot of money for her college because of her grade point average, now you’re taking that away from my other child at Henry because she’ll not be able to have that high GPA,” said one parent.

All of this outrage is valid. Based on my step-daughter’s experiences, her above 4.0 GPA allowed her to get into UCLA and she had enough credits to bypass courses and focus on her major.

Fortunately, for future Patrick Henry graduates, the decision has been reversed.

The principal of Patrick Henry High School is reversing course after parents and students rallied against the elimination of some honors classes.

Principal Michelle Irwin’s decision followed a protest by hundreds of students in the quad Wednesday.

“I didn’t receive enough feedback from parents and students and so, you know, after yesterday’s rally, I paused and thought, ‘Well, you know what, let’s ask more parents and students for their feedback and input,” Irwin said. “So that’s what we’re doing over the next couple of days; we’re holding some parent forums.”

One small win for San Diego parents, one big win for San Diego students.


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Equity’s sole function is to destroy anyone exceptional. Do “equity” for a basketball team or a football team… How would that work? Academics are the same. What a load of bs…

    MAJack in reply to amwick. | April 25, 2022 at 4:13 pm

    Notice that neither the Chinese nor the Indians will have ANYTHING to do with this Marxist farce called “equity”. Why is that? Perhaps they aspire to rule the world while we celebrate June 19th and erect more George Floyd statues.

      Kepha H in reply to MAJack. | April 25, 2022 at 5:16 pm

      During the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, China tried advancing the offspring of “workers, peasants, and soldiers” in order to offset educational adantages of the children of the overthrown middle and upper classes. Seeing how Xi Jinping is clamping down on China’s business community and dusting off the Mao era, I wouldn’t be surprised if China tried the same thing again in order to shore up the Communist Party’s rule. Reform, after all, left a lot of China behind, and China will need the hard-up, information-poor classes to support its upcoming war effort.

“Equity” is horribly racist because it assumes that minority kids aren’t smart enough to excel on their own merits. Minority parents should be furious at people like this principal who is telling their kids that they can’t succeed at honors courses.

All kids tend to rise (or fall) to their parents’ and teachers’ expectations. Many charter schools have shown that minority kids can excel if they are given the discipline and self-confidence to succeed. But teachers like this woke principal are telling them that they are too stupid to succeed, and the other kids all have to be held back so they won’t get too far ahead. That’s idiotic and racist, and such teachers should be fired.

“Do your effing job and stop effing around” is a tough argument to beat.

healthguyfsu | April 24, 2022 at 9:39 pm

GPA is a poor rationale for placement and investment, especially since there are so many woke schools out there giving away something for nothing.

These same people HATE standardized tests because they remove the woke interventions from the equation and put it all on merit. Yes, some won’t do their best on a test, but that’s a marker in and of itself…if you can’t perform at your best consistently, then maybe you aren’t in the top tier that should be matriculating to medical school, etc?

remove every single administrator, board member, union leader. Do it now before they destroy your school completely….

That is what it will take to defeat ‘wokeism’. Parents with school age kids, especially mothers.

Dual enrollment courses (do your junior/senior coursework at a community college – paid for by the school district) are MUCH better than honors/advanced placement courses. Less make-work. Don’t have to take a test at the end to obtain credit. Don’t have to waste your valuable time in a government school building. Colleges and universities value dual enrollment credits higher than AP credits.

    healthguyfsu in reply to gibbie. | April 25, 2022 at 12:05 am

    Depends on the community college and its rigor…I’ve seen some that are hot garbage and might as well be a standard high school class.

      healthguyfsu in reply to healthguyfsu. | April 25, 2022 at 12:06 am

      It’s really a shame too when it happens because it makes kids think they know what college classes are going to be like. Then, they get a rude awakening when they go to a real college.

        UnCivilServant in reply to healthguyfsu. | April 25, 2022 at 6:48 am

        I kept hearing that the next level of life (ie high school when in elementary, college when in high school, the workplace when in college) was when real work began.

        To be honest, so far the hardest part has been showing up. I’ll bet you I’m going to start hearing that retirement is when the real work begins…

          healthguyfsu in reply to UnCivilServant. | April 25, 2022 at 11:10 am

          You have a point, but it’s why the standards of each have to keep changing because of the gradual erosion of work ethic.

          The resources and extra chances students have today would have everyone from the 80s and 90s pounding out straight A’s like it was a breeze. The resources those students had are likewise stepped to provide coddling and self esteem rather than a tougher assessment.

          It wears on you trying to keep difficult standards and convince a bunch of immature pseudo-adults that you were “tough but fair”. Their opinions and their grade progress are given too much weight in the evaluation of a teacher/professor’s job.

    Dathurtz in reply to gibbie. | April 25, 2022 at 8:07 am

    AP is largely a scam, anyways. Insane amount of work for a paltry reward. You only get credit for non-majors introductory classes. Go leaf through the AP requirements for biology and chemistry and you will see they pretty far exceed the expectations of a non-majors intro to biology/chemistry class.

    AP chemistry was a hell of a lot of fun to teach and I really enjoyed it, but it ultimately wasn’t worth it for the kids unless they intended on becoming a chemistry major. At that point, however, the college credit was worthless.

      healthguyfsu in reply to Dathurtz. | April 25, 2022 at 11:12 am

      Or maybe it was worth it and they just undervalued it (perhaps you too or you just got worn down)??

      Chemistry knowledge can pop up as useful in unexpected places in multiple workplaces and in the home. However, with today’s pump and dump mentality, I doubt they retain anything useful.

        Dathurtz in reply to healthguyfsu. | April 25, 2022 at 9:52 pm

        Nope. It isn’t worth it outside of very specific career paths. The general principles are learned in a regular chem class and AP chem is (now) much more about memorizing select lab assignments and mathematical applications. It is nice, and I really enjoyed teaching it, but the student effort is tremendous compares to the payout.

      MAJack in reply to Dathurtz. | April 25, 2022 at 4:15 pm

      When I graduated from an all boys Catholic prep school over 40 years ago, my AP course successes (passed 3 exams: Biology, English and US History) got me accepted with sophomore standing my freshman year at college. Does that no longer happen?

        Dathurtz in reply to MAJack. | April 25, 2022 at 9:48 pm

        You can get the hours, but the rub is that the hours are worthless to you. If you were to go major in genetics, then AP biology would be nice to learn, but the college credit isn’t useful because it is non-majors.

        My AP chem, bio, and physics were useful to me for the learning that occurred, though AP reworked its tests about 10 years ago to be far less useful. However, I couldn’t use the credits for my degree.

A pause is not good enough. The principal showed who she is, the only acceptable outcome is her removal

Know any teachers?
Ask about “Blooket” and why Disney characters are important to middle school education.
Ask why they put YouTube videos on the smart board with tons of ads.
Ask why the teacher thinks it important to bend to the will of a child.
Discipline needs to happen, or remove the classroom disruptors.

Comanche Voter | April 25, 2022 at 10:53 am

I lived just three miles away from Patrick Henry High when it opened in 1969. At the time the neighborhood where Patrick Henry High drew its students was high middle class. The parents were young lawyers, accountants, engineers–knowledge workers. They had high expectations for their children in school and the academic results showed it. It was the highest rated high school in the San Diego Unified School District.

Fifty years on things have changed. Those high middle class parents now buy their homes in the northern suburbs of San Diego. The number of kids eligible for free or reduced price lunches (a reliable marker of socioeconomic status) at Patrick Henry has significantly increased. Patrick Henry’s ranking–among high schools in the district–has slipped way down. The parents are no longer mostly “knowledge workers”.

An ambitious hardworking student from a slightly lower middle class background needs those honors and AP courses to have a shot at getting into a decent college. And taking them away in the name of “equity” because a significant number of students at Patrick Henry can not cut the academic mustard–is a crime.

Equity is just the latest excuse for getting rid of anything with factual content. The trend for decades has been to move away from anything that requires hard work and thought, toward trendy, empty stuff.

Certain teachers and administrators will follow any line that allows them to dumb down the curriculum. The result is what counts, not the pretext.

Every Child Left Behind policy a la Diversity [dogma] (e.g. racism), Inequity, and Exclusion.

I agree that cutting Honor’s Courses is stupid. How does getting rid of advanced courses for kids who would otherwise be bored in school help kids? It hurts those who would be in Honors Courses, and does nothing to help kids in other classes.

That said, the fact that it can give you a “4.5” GPA makes the point that GPA is a joke measurement. If a college truly gave you a scholarship because you had “More than perfect” average, there’s something wrong with the system, though I doubt pointing out our systems of measurement of proficiency is in anyway a new insight.

    Dathurtz in reply to aivanther. | April 25, 2022 at 9:55 pm

    The intent is to purposefully restrict successful students in the hopes that less successful students will be lifted up by being in the same class as them. It works, but it seems abusive to the more successful students.

This is all about pretending black culture is reprehensible. Disgusting. You don’t even find black American culture in Africa…which also despises it.

One reason some schools are cutting honors courses is that they don’t have anyone remotely capable of teaching them.

The dumbing down of schools is coincident with the dumbing down of teacher qualifications in what used to be considered essential subjects.

    Dathurtz in reply to Gosport. | April 26, 2022 at 8:07 am

    Yes. This is happening as more insanity pushes more qualified (no, not the way the education field means it) people from the profession. People who want to teach secondary science education only have to take sophomore level classes in the field. Not only that, but I am the only person within 70 miles of me that is actually certified to teach chemistry. All of the older chemistry teachers are/were biology people who were certified under the old scheme of “general science”.

    If you want to teach science, you either have to be kinda crazy and just love teaching or you have to have no other choice. Mostly, it is the latter.