Pajamas Media: Out-of-Control Multiculturalism at Berkeley High School

Today’s post is over at Pajamas Media.


Two weeks ago we heard that Berkeley High School was going to drop their science labs from its curriculum because too many white kids were taking the courses.

I suggest that there is no reason to worry because there are plenty of other subjects on Berkeley’s books to take up the kids’ time.

Like the “Eco-Literacy and Social Justice Seminar”.

Take a look.


  1. 49erDweet

    This excerpt from their catalog may offer a clue. Under   “Keeping Your Options Open” they state,

    We encourage all BHS students to choose the most rigorous schedule that enables them to be successful. However we recommend that students take no more than to AP classes each semester. …..[emphasis mine]”

    Seems the under-education at BHS began a couple of generations ago.

  2. john

    Here’s why the whole article is bunk. Selective reporting. Intentional?

    “The Berkeley High School Governance Council (SGC) voted last week to approve the latest school redesign plan, including a controversial proposal to eliminate science lab instruction that is currently offered before and after regular school hours. ”

    Extra curricular, outside regular school hours programs being cut. It pains me to see them cut science labs, but if you need to make cuts you do it with stuff outside the normal framework of the system.

    “This course may be taken by students in grades 10-12; however, it does not replace required courses for graduation in History in grades 9, 10, and I I.”
    “This course does not replace required English in grades 9, 10, or I I.”

    This school has more elective course offerings than any High school I’ve ever seen. If students want to take an additional, elective, does not meet the requirements for history, history course focused on African American History I don’t see how that differs than a student wanting to take an elective math course in say, Bayesian Statics. If that’s what you are interested in, you will learn something from it. Isn’t that the point?

    They also have more lab science courses taught during regular school hours than most schools I’ve seen.

    Attacking the foreign language classes offered in Kiswahili is senseless. The school has a resource very few others have and you suggest they not utilize it. Learning this language is no less useful than learning French in high school. Especially since most won’t be able to speak a sentence of either 2 years later anyway. Or how about Latin. You say only 5 million people speak Kiswahili… zero people speak Latin.

    Why not bash them for teaching ceramics? It is a pretty useless skill for all but maybe 1 out of each graduating class. I guess Ceramics isn’t black enough to deserve criticism.

    My posts have been somewhat harsh lately, but your blog is losing merit as your personal biases are getting in the way.

  3. Briggs


    Oh, my. Sticking up for lessons on “pimp psychology”, eh?

    49erDweet only hinted at it, but the course catalog and the report to change the system is littered with typos (regular readers will know this is a venal and not a mortal sin). The prime motivation behind the maneuver is worse than politically correct pandering, it’s to relieve teachers of about one week’s teaching. That increases the budget by a hefty amount, but it allows teachers to spend that work-free week “discussing” how to better teach.

    English, at BHS, while still mandatory, as you suggest, might be filled with the PC version of the class. So, yes, it’s as bad as it sounds. Also, the point I was making that the (elective) courses should not be on the books. Quantity of ridiculous electives does not substitute for quality core courses.

    Now, john, are your “somewhat harsh” comments the result of your “personal biases”? I say they are. Further, I say this is OK. Just as yesterday I stuck up for Dennett’s prescriptivism, you cannot—nobody can—write without “personal bias.” The only questions are: are my prescriptions good or bad, are my personal biases right or wrong?

  4. Briggs

    Speaking of typos: a generous reader pointed out another of my idiocies. Where I say, “leave a big whole in kids’ days.”


  5. dearieme

    “Learning this language is no less useful than learning French in high school.” Yep, it’s jolly useful being able to read Camus in Swahili.

  6. 49erDweet

    I’m with dearieme on this one, john.

    Learning this [Kiswahili} language is no less useful than learning French…..

    None of the crrossword puzzles I run across offer many clues in Bantu languages, but – mon dieu! – they sure sprinkle in the French. And my “high school” studies from decades ago still stand me in pretty good stead with them. Maybe its just me, but in this case you probably meant well but missed the mark.

  7. James Gibbons

    “whole in kids’ days”

    Yes, those spell-checkers get me to.

  8. James Gibbons

    One thing I will say, it was sure fun, after getting Cs in English comp, to take Technical Writing. It was almost all English and like majors against a few real science majors like my beloved Physics. The English majors all got Bs & Cs while I got all As.

    I now have a job helping replace some of these fools with robots. Sorry folks, the last good paying jobs that don’t require a strong education are either going offshore or being automated. One easy way our factories can cut costs, and be competitive with China and like, is to reduce labor through automation. It’s called progress.

    And, don’t think you can keep the jobs by just slowing change by political moves. Big companies are very determined to change their economics, and physically demanding jobs that cause medical losses are the first to go. You can’t blame them either, as they are only trying to help bend the curve of insurance cost, exactly what the big Obama and your representatives (not mine) are also saying they will do. And they will be saving carbon credits by not having employees driving to work too, another reason the environmentalists should be for it.

    The goal of automation is not simply to replace people’s jobs, but only to reduce their headcount, as they still need Electricians and similar technical hires to watch the robots. Guess they won’t be coming from Berkley Hi.

    Having grown up on a rural farm, I know what it’s like to do hard work. My love of robots grew from day dreaming of them doing my difficult jobs. I think the real problem is that these kids and their clueless parents have lived a very sheltered big city life. As my old Professor would often say, “so and so could never make it in the outside world without their tenure.”

    I really do feel sorry for the children, that they will never have a full understanding of what they lost.

  9. Repeat after me, “Would you like fries with that?”

  10. kdk33


    I take offense. Ultimate Frisbee is legit!

  11. James Gibbons

    Mike D.

    One of the favorite booths at the last robot show I went to was the robot bartender mixing drinks. Burgers should be just as easy.

  12. JG,

    If robots take over the fast food industry, where will Berkeley High graduates work?

  13. Melissa O'Sullivan

    Briggs, am I allowed to pull liberally from the good stuff here to send to friends? I especially loved the “…help bend the curve of cost insurance…” from Gibbons. Actually, it was a choice between watching CNN/BBC-only english speaking channels we get-or your site, which was v. entertaining this morning! But where is the stuff on our own East A. deal? Are we already at Schopenhauer’s 3rd stage of truth? Did I miss it?

  14. Briggs


    Feel free to pull everything you want, but…”liberally”? You must have heard by now of the IPCC’s Himalayan glacier screw up. They included one scientist’s wild guess about the disappearance of those glaciers as “settled science.” They got called on it and are now backpedaling.

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