Parents at Berkeley High have had regular emails this week outlining the procedure for registering for the optional, additional science labs. Berkeleyside has already commented on the rather humdrum approach of those notices.
After I wrote about the approved compromise deal in the Berkeley High science lab flap, commenter Maureen Burke replied, “Color me unimpressed… This new procedure is cumbersome and most kids are being steered to not sign up for science labs. And guess what? Next year we will hear that there was no demand for science labs after all and they will be eliminated.”
After months of wrangling, the Berkeley Unified School District board last Wednesday finally passed a compromise on science labs at Berkeley High. Under the plan, proposed by superintendent Bill Huyett (photo right), AP and IB science labs are preserved, and other science courses will provide optional labs in either 0 or 7th period, as happens this year.
Peggy Scott, parent representative on the Berkeley High School Governance Council, has sent out to a community email list a summary of last week’s SGC meeting. It has been slightly edited for style:
Parents attending the open house at Berkeley High School last night were handed a leaflet from “concerned parents and staff” about the science/equity controversy at the school. According to the leaflet, BHS principal Jim Slemp is opposed to the compromise plan suggested by Berkeley Unified School District Superintendent Bill Huyett:
Amy Hansen is a long time science teacher at Berkeley High School. When she read Rick Ayer’s opinion piece on the science lab controversy, she felt compelled to send a letter to the school board rebutting Ayers’ charges. This is a copy of the letter.
Rick Ayers was a well-regarded teacher at Berkeley High for 11 years, instrumental in starting the Community Arts and Sciences (CAS) small school and helping with the school newspaper.
In the concluding moments of Wednesday night’s school board meeting, director Shirley Issel made a passionate statement urging an end to the divisive rhetoric used by some sides in the argument over equity grants and science labs at Berkeley High School.
Susan Helmrich has been a parent at Berkeley High for the last six years. As co-chair of the Development Group and a former member of the school site council, Helmrich is very familiar with the workings of the high school. Yet last night’s school board meeting left her – and many others – confused about which science lab proposal is on the table. The following is her report of the evening.
More than a dozen people spoke out Wednesday night against cutting science labs at Berkeley High School, but the school board took no action on the controversial proposal.
After yesterday’s storm over the agenda for tonight’s school board meeting, which did not include a compromise proposal on the Berkeley High science/equity controversy, it looks like wiser heads are going to prevail. According to school district spokesperson Mark Coplan, an amended board packet is being issued, which will incorporate Superintendent Bill Huyett’s compromise plan.
Three Berkeley High science teachers have done an analysis of class sizes at the school. It’s an attempt to inject facts into the debate around struggling students at BHS, and whether cutting science lab time is an effective way to close the achievement gap at the school.
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