The Daily Tar Heel
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The Daily Tar Heel

Honor the classes: Achievement gap troubling, but honors classes not issue

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Public School curriculum should work toward raising the bar for under-achieving students.

But it should also provide an academically rigorous curriculum for the intellectually gifted. There is absolutely no reason why these two goals cannot be accomplished at the same time.

 The local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has derided recent actions by the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education to increase the number of honors classes offered.

In an interview with The Daily Tar Heel on Feb. 25, Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP branch president Michelle Cotton Laws said, “We are against policies that expand opportunities for those persons at the top with little or no genuine attention given to how to bring those children at the bottom along with them.”

The NAACP is right to focus on the very troubling achievement gap. But the group’s sentiment is off. Students can’t be clumped into two groups — those who are “gifted” and those who are  not.

All students have potential that can be realized. Expanding honors classes is one way of tapping into that potential.

Setting higher standards and improving the quality of education is a move that targets all students.

And there’s no reason why the school system can’t expand honors classes while at the same time enacting other measures that focus on closing the  achievement gap. In fact, the two go hand in hand.

The achievement gap continues to be a pervasive problem in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system. There’s no excuse why, in a community that prides itself on academic excellence, our schools should continue to fail black students at a higher rate.

It’s imperative that public school officials and the community continue to address the gap.

The NAACP is right to keep the problem in the public eye. But protesting the addition of honors classes is not the way to combat the issue.

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