Saturday, April 30, 2022

Dumbing Down the Schools

Thomas Jefferson High School in Alexandria, Virginia has long counted as one of the nation’s best public high schools. It offered admissions based on a standardized test and challenged children with a seriously rigorous course of study.

But then, a new principal took over a couple of years ago, and she made it her mission to introduce more diversity, inclusion and equity. That meant, more admissions for underqualified students. 

 Now, certain New York City high schools are about to try to do the same thing, by replacing  standardized tests with a lottery. The results will doubtless be the same as are seen in TJ.

And we note, again, that when MIT opened up its admissions process to students who were chosen for their diversity, teachers quickly discovered that these students were incapable of doing the math necessary to pass Freshman courses and to engage in the normal course of study. So, MIT reinstated the standardized test requirements.

Now, Asra Nomani explains in The Federalist, when a pathetic fool named Ann Bonitatibus took over as principal of TJ a couple of years ago, she began a program designed to dumb down the student body. 

The first consequence was that more students dropped out of school. 

Nomani explains:

According to the school district’s website, only 541 students of the 550 students admitted in the Class of 2025 even started in September 2021. Several left throughout the school year, in March bringing the Class of 2025 to 529 students from 541.

That’s 12 students, or a record 2.2 percent of the freshman class, who dropped out of the school. The number may seem small, but consider that only one student dropped out the entire year before from the Class of 2024.

But then the problem of learning gaps arose. In part, this was caused by the pandemic, but still, an alarming number of students were incapable of doing the work:

In February, blaming “pandemic learning gaps,” Bonitatibus had staff announce new after-school “Algebra Review Sessions” because so many Class of 2025 students were ill-prepared in math.

The dumbed down student body was less competent. 

Furthermore, a new study by the Fairfax County Association for the Gifted, which advocates for advanced academic students, confirms the new admissions process admitted students in the Class of 2025 with less advanced math than the year before. Compared to the TJ Class of 2024, the proportion of students admitted in the Class of 2025 with Algebra 2 or higher completed in 8th grade decreased from 35 to 18 percent. Advanced math, like multivariable calculus, lays the foundation for advanced sciences, from artificial intelligence and machine learning, that matter to TJ students (and the school’s mission).

So, children who cannot master multivariable calculus are shut out of many advanced subjects. But then, a quarter of the new freshman class had not yet learned geometry:

The study also found 38 percent of Fairfax County Public Schools students admitted to the TJ Class of 2025 “were not participating in the most rigorous coursework available in 8th grade.”

Indeed, in response to a FOIA request by a TJ mother, Fairfax County officials revealed that the number of TJ students who had to take geometry—a course that most ninth graders completed before arriving at TJ under merit admissions—skyrocketed to 136 students in the 2021-2022 school year from 11 in 2020-2021 and 15 in 2019-2020.

The program is such an obvious failure, that you can assure yourself that it will be continued. And you can equally be assured that grade inflation and curriculum revision is about to become the order of the day at TJ.

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