LETTER — Equity policy is wrong way to go

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, April 28, 2021

To the Editor:

I was embarrassed for my state to see on a national news site that Virginia, in the name of equity, will not allow any secondary students through the 10th grade to take accelerated mathematics classes, like algebra 2 or geometry. This is a shocking move.

To a former high school and college mathematics teacher, this is unbelievable. I think about Katherine Johnson who just recently passed away. Honored for her great intellect and achievements in mathematics by the book and movie “Hidden Figures,” she is a hero and great role model for all mathematics students but especially for African-American girls. She was fortunate to have gone to school in West Virginia where she was allowed to take accelerated classes, not just in mathematics but other classes as well, graduating college at age 18.

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If you think carefully about the “equity” philosophy behind this new policy, you cannot escape the underlying assumption that the students who would benefit from those accelerated classes would be assumed to be white. Put in other words, the assumption on which this new policy is based is that African-American students aren’t intellectually capable of success in accelerated mathematics classes. This is exactly the way a white supremacist thinks.

Who were the people who came up with this horrible idea? Did they really include mathematics teachers and minority educators? Did they really come to the conclusion that the only way for minority students to be successful in mathematics is to keep all the best students, of all races, from excelling? This new, racist policy doesn’t benefit any students whether they are minority students or not.

I certainly hope it is not too late to rethink this policy. If they proceed with this plan, they should be prepared to say goodbye to their best students, who will be attending school elsewhere, probably in private schools.

Cindy Koether