Prestigious School District Removes Honor Classes In Favor Of Equity

A top ranked school district is removing honor classes in favor of promoting more equity and inclusion, and parents are outraged.

By Erika Hanson | Published

Pediatricians Say Children With Head Lice Should Remain In School

honor classes

Honor classes are being cut from public schools across the country. Much of this is being done so through a practice known as deleveling, or the concept to avoid placing students in a classroom structured around their past and present academic abilities and grades. It is being implemented in the name of equity and inclusion, but it is met with fierce debate from a growing number of parents. Joining the initiative to delevel schools is a prestigious school district in Rhode Island that began to delevel classes, and ditch AP and honors courses, all while upsetting a majority of parents.

Fox News reports that Barrington Public Schools in Rhode Island have been in the process of deleveling schools and eliminating honor classes since the onset of the COVID pandemic. The district is touted as one of the best within the state, where many families often relocate their children for the fierce education stringency that set many of the district’s students up for placement in top colleges and universities. Nonetheless, much of that attraction is dwindling now, and data can back up that claim.

honor classes

According to school ranking data collected by US News, Barrington High School is currently ranked 308th in place for the national ranking of public high schools. Not surprisingly, Fox reports that this figure plummeted from 2019, before the school had ditched honor classes in favor of deleveling. Just three years ago, the high school was ranked 189th in school rankings nationwide.

The issue came to a head with the recent decision announced by school board members that the district would be ditching all honor classes. The decision was another move in the district’s plan to create more equity through the deleveling process. Showing up to a recent school board meeting in droves, parents outcried the district’s decision, letting board members know how they feel about deleveling.

One long-time resident and parent, Bill Jacobson, compared deleveling to divisive concepts like critical race theory. He said that equity is in fact a biased practice used in schools to bring down excelling students in favor of more equalized results. In ditching honor classes in the name of equity, he said that the notion has become an “unhealthy obsession” to many that isn’t proving to benefit anyone at all.

honor classes

One parent, the son of Mexican immigrants, spoke out against the removal of honor classes, pointing out that he is representative of the so-called “people” that deleveling practices are supposed to benefit. Outraged that the district failed to get opinions from minorities like himself before enacting such a controversial ruling, he argued that the idea that deleveling is built on diversity and equity is a false claim. He said that it does nothing to further the lives of minorities and underprivileged students. 

Similarly, one mother on the other spectrum spoke out against the school board’s decision to remove honors classes, in regards to her own daughter that is now attending increased rigorous classes than she feels she can handle. Her daughter, who was removed from certain special education classes after the district deleveled classrooms and put students at different levels together into one class, has been struggling. The mother says that it has caused her daughter’s grades to plummet, and feels that the school is pushing its agenda, regardless of the outcome and impact it is having on nearly every student overperforming and underperforming alike.

Regardless of the angry parents’ concerns, it seems the district will continue deleveling children in classrooms. Similarly, for now, students looking to get a head start on college, or further their chances at getting into prestigious universities will have to fight even harder to do so, as they will not be able to attend honor classes. So long as there continues to be a major push for equity in America, practices like this will likely continue to sweep public school districts across America.