Letter: De-leveling: does it promote inequality and privatization of education?  

Posted 3/31/21

To the editor:

Mahatma Gandhi famously tossed his second sandal off the train to meet the one he lost while he was climbing on board and chose to travel barefoot. When asked by a passenger what …

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Letter: De-leveling: does it promote inequality and privatization of education?  

Posted

To the editor:

Mahatma Gandhi famously tossed his second sandal off the train to meet the one he lost while he was climbing on board and chose to travel barefoot. When asked by a passenger what was the reason he did this, he responded that “one sandal won’t benefit anyone but 2 will”. 

De-leveling in our high school is now tossing conceptual and honors levels with the same ease Ghandi removed his second sandal- but who will benefit from such a radical move? And how will our now barefoot high school students meet the harsh ground of a nationally competitive knowledge economy? 

Like Mahatma Gandhi, the intentions of our school administration and school committee seem to be noble. Despite the fact that there have been no scientific studies that support their assessment that de-leveling will benefit any of their addressed stakeholders — quite the contrary, there is an abundance of data that it’s a failed policy and that districts that de-leveled are now fully re-leveled — their rhetoric seems to be a Quixotic quest for equality. Hence, noble indeed. 

And it must be these good intentions that allowed our school committee to approve the de-leveled program of studies in ‘20 and ‘21, where most conceptual classes and 9th and 10th grade honors ELA were eliminated.

Is De-leveling truly promoting equity or (albeit unwillingly) promoting the privatization of education?

My homeland Greece, boasts one of the worse public school systems in Europe with de-leveled high schools. Parents who have the means enroll their children to private schools or private tutoring centers, that do offer levels. I’ve lived it: it’s a chasm between the haves and the have-nots. BHS De-leveling’s “one size fits all” will push families that can afford it to opt for private schools, while the rest of the student body will be left behind disenfranchised: slower paced students challenged on multiple fronts and the rest entering the college acceptance arena, with nothing notable in their hands to compete against applicants who came from high schools with honors and stem classes, or the now highly desirable International Baccalaureate diploma, but a mere high school transcript deeming them in an obscurity unfit for a district that once boasted #199 in the nation. 

The 1,200 or more flags that paint our Town Hall red, may stand as Barrington families’ symbolic outcry for the absolute lack of any transparency, communication and involvement in the removal of levels that will directly impact our children — the very ones that stand to lose the most. Red is the color of all the sacrifices that parents who come to this district do. Each red flag is the hope that when our school administrators and school committee members drive by, they will jump off their noble steed to walk with us, listen to us, talk with us, and face our substantiated fears together. And then hopefully, reconsider, do right by reinstating conceptual and honors classes for all students, and heal with us.

Anna Amoiradaki

Barrington

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.