The Virginia Department of Education is considering ending advanced diplomas state-wide in the name of equity.
During a Zoom meeting, Virginia Education Department’s Director of Policy Leslie Sale announced a newfound effort to review Virginia’s diploma and graduation requirements, according to Fox News.
“This is about … how and where graduation requirements can operate as a level for equity. So, first, we’re going to start with … the possibility of consolidating the standard and advanced studies diploma,” Sale said. “Hopefully, this discussion will allow us to think through how we maintain a rigorous academic foundation in a way that’s really equitably serving the needs and aspirations of all of Virginia learners.”
In March, the African-American Superintendents Advisory Council, a Virginia-based committee that represents African-American school leaders, parents, and students, released a set of recommendations to “advance equity.” According to Sale, nixing advanced degrees is part of the council’s recommendations.
According to Sale’s presentation, the majority of advanced diploma earners in 2019 were Asian and white students. Seventy-nine percent of Asians received advanced diplomas, 63% of white people, 44% of Hispanics, 40% of black people, and 35% were held by “economically disadvantaged” students.
The Virginia Department of Education told Fox News that the board is “reviewing the current diploma options available to Virginia students but at this time there is not a formal proposal before the board.”
The Virginia Department of Education is also considering implementing the “Virginia Math Pathways Initiative,” which will redefine math in Virginia’s K-12 schools. Parents in the northern Virginia suburbs were furious with the state’s announcement to alter math curriculum.
Parents Against Critical Theory, a concerned parents organization in northern Virginia, called on parents to “get engaged” in light of the exploratory committee’s announcement of both advanced diploma changes and the math curriculum alterations.
“The destruction is never-ending. If parents were upset about the changes in Virginia’s math program, they will be apoplectic after watching this [meeting] that just ended,” the group said in a statement following Sale’s meeting. “Why are they doing this? Equity, all in the name of equity. Parents, get engaged, we have got to save our kids’ education.”
School districts and specific schools in Virginia have taken it upon themselves to push towards more “equitable” standards as well. In hopes of creating a more “equitable” school, Thomas Jefferson High School — an elite Virginia specialty school for math and science — recalibrated its admissions process to shrink the prominent Asian-American population.
The Daily Wire reported:
In October, the [Fairfax County Public School] board voted to nix [Thomas Jefferson High School’s] rigorous admissions test and the $100 application fee in the name of equity and inclusion. The proposal — which was brought forward by Superintendent Scott Braband — sought to increase the size of the high school.
The school board also voted to approve a new “holistic review” process. It requires admissions administrators to take students’ socioeconomic status, disabilities, and native language into account in the admissions process.