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Parents Revolt Against “Equity” Agenda In Barrington (RI) As School District Drops Precipitously In National Rankings

Parents Revolt Against “Equity” Agenda In Barrington (RI) As School District Drops Precipitously In National Rankings

“Since de-levelling was introduced… the school has dropped from 189th to 308th in the nationwide school rankings.” The parents movement in Barrington crosses all political, racial, and ethnic lines. It’s just parents refusing to be silent anymore.

Barrington, Rhode Island, where Legal Insurrection Foundation is based, is the center of a firestorm of parent protest over an “equity” agenda scaling back or eliminating accelerated high school courses. This so-called “de-leveling” has united parents of all political affiliations in a parents movement that is gaining steam with calls to replace town political and school leadership.

It wasn’t always this way. The town once known as “Borrington” because nothing much happened now has become a hotbed of woke activism with progressive Democrats controlling the Town Council. Controversies have included the town flying the BLM flag over the Veterans Memorial, and then stripping the local veterans group of its role organizing the Memorial Day Parade after it protested. The Town Council even sponsored as an official town event an appearance by Ibram Kendi, which refusing to sponsor an alternative viewpoint.

This activism also has found its way into the school system, with an equally woke School Commitee, where “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” has reached near-religious dogma. The Equity part of the agenda has involved de-leveling — the reduction or elimination of accelerated and honors courses that were the lifeblood of the top-rated school district in the state.

Parents, many of whom were high academic achievers themselves, have erupted in protest, as the Barrington Times reported on March 4, 2022:

The decision to “de-level” courses at Barrington High School is being met with resistance.

At last Thursday night’s school committee meeting, nearly a half-dozen parents in the district voiced their concerns and opposition to the curriculum shift, which started in 2017 with the elimination of level-three Social Studies courses at the high school. Level-three were the most advanced courses, filled with the school’s top students. De-leveling refers to more mixed classrooms, with students at all abilities in the same groupings.

De-leveling, said school officials, will benefit all students. But parents who spoke out during the school committee meeting said the move will serve as a disservice to some of the district’s highest learners….

Anna Amoiradaki said she grew up in Europe and attended a de-leveled high school in Greece. She said that approach to education failed her brother, and will fail everyone here in Barrington.

“You’re using our kids as guinea pigs right now,” Ms. Amoiradaki said. “We deserve better.

“It doesn’t work. It fails everyone.”

It all came to a head at a contentious School Committee meeting on March 30, 2022.

(You can view all the parent testimony here.)

Barrington Mom Ellen Schaffer issued a call for community unity in the face of School Committee equity activism:

Over 500 Barrington residents, mostly parents, have signed an open letter against de-leveing (emphasis added):

There are many reasons that brought our families to Barrington and keep us here. But at the top of everyone’s list is an excellent school system that promises to “empower all students to excel.” Barrington Public Schools’ strategic plan states that it will achieve this goal by “making student-centered decisions” and “creating purposeful, inclusive, and responsive dialogue.”

Over the past several years, the district administration and majority of the School Committee have failed on both fronts. It is time for a change. Our community is reeling from this year’s failed shift from Honors-level English classes to an independent Honors Designation project, resulting in honors participation dropping from over 50% of students to under 30%.

* * *

This is just the latest example of a clear pattern of self-inflicted wounds due to the administration and School Committee taking actions without regard for stakeholder input, and lack of accountability for failures….

Barrington schools are our town’s greatest asset. We, engaged parents, students, BHS graduates, and taxpayers, have spent hours trying to convey our perspectives and lived experiences. We have written countless emails and spoken at endless school committee meetings. The lack of any response, of accountability, of listening to understand, of any semblance of community partnership, is stunning.

To be clear, we applaud our teachers and are thankful for all they are doing – day in and day out – for our kids. Our entire learning community deserves better than these failures of our leadership.

The signers of this letter are diverse; we are Democrats, Republicans and Independents; some voted for the current school committee members, and some did not. But we will ALL vote for change in November, because these issues are more important than party.

This is a unifying call for action. Our kids and our school system are counting on us.

Fox News has covered the story, in which I was quoted, Rhode Island parents enraged at school board for removing honors classes in ‘equity obsession’:

Barrington, Rhode Island, public schools are among the best in the state. Many parents move to the district, and tolerate the higher taxes, because of the academic rigor that sets their children up for attending Ivy League schools or receiving academic merit scholarships. However, all of that academic appeal is being chipped away after the district brought in a so-called “equity and inclusion” agenda….

Rage broke loose among parents of all political stripes after the honors students were targeted, parents said. The school announced that the days of honors English and social studies were gone. Parents protested, arguing that the move deprived their children of a competitive edge – and in effect – future opportunities such as merit scholarships.

During a March 30 meeting, over a dozen parents and students scolded the school board….

As of 2022, Barrington High School’s U.S. News ranking plummeted to #308 on a list among the top high schools in the country, down many notches from 189th in 2019.

Bill Jacobson, a long-time Barrington resident and founder of Legal Insurrection, said, “De-leveling is part of an agenda of equalizing outcomes. This equal-results approach stems from critical race theory and diversity, equity and inclusion, which posit that unequal outcomes are the result of systemic bias and discrimination. ‘Equity’ in particular is the codeword for bringing high achievers down to equalize outcomes,” Jacobson said. “‘Equity’ has become an unhealthy obsession, and parents are seeing the impact.”

The Daily Mail also has picked up the story:

Parents in Barrington, Rhode Island have slammed a woke school district for cancelling honors classes as part of a move to increase inclusivity and equity amongst students.

Barrington Public Schools were among the best in the state and known for equipping students for Ivy League colleges but have plunged 119 spots in official rankings since it changed its approach to teaching in 2020.

Parents voiced their outrage at a March 30 meeting, claiming the new structure of de-leveling – a system of universal learning – had impacted grades and access to merit scholarships for college….

Katie Novak, a representative for the school, told Fox News: ‘Too many individuals and schools support oppressive and ableist structures where access to advanced coursework is a privilege that students have to earn’.

‘All students deserve opportunities to access grade-level instruction and become expert learners and this is not possible when we continue to track students in different levels based on antiquated models of school success.’

However, a mother who has children with a special learning plan, said the ‘inclusive’ approach is harming her daughter, whose grades have dropped.

‘It [took away] any kind of individuality… or…personalized education plan for kids. It’s: “You’re just going to be some homogenized like education factory where they raise everybody’s the same.”‘

‘I don’t think I would ever be a fan of de-leveling, but the timing [to implement it during COVID] is what makes it very suspicious to me. So it just felt like it was an easy way for them to get their agenda through without pushback because people were so busy dealing with other stuff.’

Since de-levelling was introduced, first with the removal of Individualized Education Programs for students with disabilities in February 2020, the school has dropped from 189th to 308th in the nationwide school rankings.

This story is not over.

The parents movement in Barrington is the real deal. It cuts across all political, racial, and ethnic lines. It’s just parents refusing to be silent anymore.

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Comments

If all of the government schools in the cities can only produce 3rd world level “graduates” who can’t read, write or do basic math, the only equitable thing to do is drag everyone else down too. And of course, pay the teachers more for combat pay.

RUN FOR REED’s SEAT, PROFESSOR !!

RUN FOR REED’s SEAT, PROFESSOR !

Think about the teachers. You can have 30 stupid, violent (albeit diverse) kids in your classroom or you can get rid of the accelerated programs and have 15 stupid, violent kids and 15 normal kids. Which would you prefer?

    That’s how it’s always been: to protect the 15 normal kids from the 15 problem kids (who have bad-news parents). That’s why our nation flourished.

    No more: the assembly line putting out affirmative action dumbasses into important positions is our doom. And even worse than the affirmative action dumbasses are the unemployable, unmarriable woke dumbasses every school is producting.

    Dathurtz in reply to spappas. | May 10, 2022 at 8:25 pm

    I would take the split any day.

LukeHandCool | May 10, 2022 at 5:48 pm

We should out-crazy these crazy people and demand equity in sports. After all, sports are not nearly as important to the mission of education as academics are.

We should demand much, much more representation of historically underrepresented groups in the various sports. Many more Asians and Hispanics on the basketball and football teams. Between 60 and 70% of sprinters on the track teams should be white. Vastly more white (as well as Asian and Hispanic) running backs and receivers on the football teams.

This would all be infinitely more sensible than allowing biological men to compete in women’s sports.

So let’s start a movement to bring full equity in representation in athletics. And if they refuse to go along … well then the sports programs in schools all need to be done away with. If we can’t have equity in sports, we’re giving him to systemic athletic racism.

Let’s do this. If they’re going to go full Orwell, let’s up the ante.

    LukeHandCool in reply to LukeHandCool. | May 10, 2022 at 5:50 pm

    correction of typo: ” … we’re giving **in** to systemic athletic racism.”

    scooterjay in reply to LukeHandCool. | May 10, 2022 at 6:07 pm

    I agree….but the consumer needs that plantation negro to run real fast with the ball.
    I have wondered when these spoiled NCAA brats that take a knee and display the BLM stickers are going to revolt against “Massa” and leave Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Come on, Spike Lee….do the right thing and refuse to take Whitey money.

      scooterjay in reply to scooterjay. | May 10, 2022 at 6:11 pm

      I lost some text.
      …and leave the University of Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Clemson for Howard, SCSU, NC A&T and Grambling.
      Come on, Spike Lee….do the right thing and refuse that Whitey money.

    4rdm2 in reply to LukeHandCool. | May 11, 2022 at 5:46 am

    I mean, right. We can’t allow the sports programs to be ‘ableist’, can we now? How crude!

Not equity, but rather inequity. Diversity, Inequity, and Exclusion (DIE) is a dogmatic belief under the Pro-Choice “ethical” (i.e. relativistic) religion. Deja vu.

Subotai Bahadur | May 10, 2022 at 7:36 pm

You have to understand that eliminating anything that appears to be excellent or even functional is the primary goal of the Democrats and the Left. Rhode Island has been run by Leftists for so long that it probably cannot be saved. If you are a parent of a child who either deserves advanced placement or who has special needs you have two choices. You can either move to somewhere that is still part of America, or you can pull your kids out of public schools and place them in private or home schooling.

In any case, making the assumption that there are real elections anymore, vote out all incumbents, vote down all ballot issues that increase the power and funding of the school boards and government, and if you can, put initiatives on the ballot to try to fight the enemy and their actions.

If that is not possible, or it does not work, be of calm mind. Soon, since the Social and Political Contracts are about dead, things will change and our country will change with them.

Subotai Bahadur

How in the world is it legal to eliminate the IEP’s of the students in SPED? If I did that I would get fired in less than a day.

In typical leftist fashion, the jargon denotes the opposite of its meaning.
“De-leveling” means “leveling”, i.e. putting the students all on the same level.
So the smarter kids’ learning will slow down, and the less-smart kids’ learning will speed up. I am skeptical about the latter.

    Dathurtz in reply to Tom Orrow. | May 10, 2022 at 9:24 pm

    It happens, but it is 80% slow down the fast kids and 20% speed up some of the slow kids.

    Idonttweet in reply to Tom Orrow. | May 11, 2022 at 11:32 am

    My son was reading at age three and doing third and fourth grade math at age four. When he was midway through public school kindergarten, we had him tested to determine if he should be in advanced placement class. The test scores were excellent and high enough, but the administrators didn’t want to put him in advanced placement.

    He was bored with studying things he had mastered two and three years previously and beginning to act out in class as a result.

    The school maintained that, while he was far ahead of his peers at that time, they would catch up in a few years. My wife and I interpreted that to mean that he would be dumbed down and his love for learning squashed. We pulled him from public school after kindergarten and switched to home schooling. He entered community college at age 16, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business from a four-year state university at age 20, and started his graduate accounting studies at 21.

    The public school was never interested in what was best for him, only in the state funds having his butt in a seat represented.

There is unrest in the forest
Trouble with the trees
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their pleas

The trouble with the maples
(And they’re quite convinced they’re right)
They say the oaks are just too lofty
And they grab up all the light

But the oaks can’t help their feelings
If they like the way they’re made
And they wonder why the maples
Can’t be happy in their shade

There is trouble in the forest
And the creatures all have fled
As the maples scream, “Oppression”
And the oaks just shake their heads

So the maples formed a union
And demanded equal rights
They say, “The oaks are just too greedy
We will make them give us light”

Now there’s no more oak oppression
For they passed a noble law
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet, axe, and saw

rokemronnie | May 11, 2022 at 4:54 am

“‘All students deserve opportunities to access grade-level instruction and become expert learners”

Some children (and adults) are simply not smart enough to become expert learners.

The educrats don’t understand that Lake Wobegon, where all the students are above average, was satire.

Parents need to get their recall petitions circulating. Have them certified and throw these wokesters out of office; all at one time, if possible. Parents are going to have to do the heavy lifting to rid our school system of this vile “woke” contagion. The idea of preventing smart, talented kids from maximizing their potential just to make the average kids feel better is vicious and cruel and a total disrespect to the gifted.

    Capitalist-Dad in reply to Wise_Jedi. | May 11, 2022 at 9:13 am

    Leftists count on the system—the next election (x years away), recall petitions, and the like—because it buys them time for their vile programs to metastasize. At some point the oppressor’s attitude that the people can shut up and toe the dictated line becomes intolerable. Our Founders tried doing things the polite way until multiple rebuffs got them started throwing the bums out of office quite literally. The Constitution’s defenders need some of those 1776 red pills.

blacksburger | May 11, 2022 at 8:45 am

One problem that has not yet been mentioned is that students who are bored stiff with too-easy material frequently tune out and stop working or they behave disruptively.

Many years ago in the small New Hampshire town where I lived, the three most-intelligent students in the senior class almost didn’t graduate because of poor grades.

Aside from this kind of situation, it does a very serious disfavor to intelligent students to give them the idea that hard work in school is something that other people have to do.

    Arminius in reply to blacksburger. | May 11, 2022 at 10:26 am

    I believe I I have mentioned it. In the fashion that I think it’s racist not to say blatantly racist things are racist

This appears to be the academic version of Get Woke, Go Broke…

Strictly from a pragmatic view, if you want to de-level, then I should have my school taxes de-leveled!