In Evanston, Illinois, a new educational approach is being implemented at a local high school to enhance academic performance among minority students. This initiative involves the creation of "affinity classes," segregated by race, specifically for black and Hispanic students.
These classes are staffed with non-white teachers, and white students are not allowed to enroll. Participation is optional, and there has been notable interest, with nearly 200 students enrolling in math and writing courses in 2023, The Post Millennialreports.
This move aims to improve the educational outcomes for black and Hispanic students by separating them from white students. It follows a similar approach taken by a Chicago middle school in 2021, which organized segregated field trips to foster a stronger bond between black teachers and students.
Supporters of this method argue that it provides a more comfortable and empowering environment for minority students.
The courses are part of a broader effort to address the academic underperformance of minority students. According to Evanston School Board Vice President, there is a significant performance gap, with black students consistently lagging behind.
This trend of voluntary segregated classes is emerging across various U.S. school districts, despite the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits racial discrimination in education.
Evanston Schools Superintendent Marcus Campbell explains that these courses offer a more relatable and less intimidating environment for minority students, especially in advanced placement classes. However, the district has yet to release statistics on the program's effectiveness.
Notably, affinity classes are not available for Asian American students or those not belonging to a minority group. The school's demographic is diverse, with 44% white, 24% black, 20% Hispanic, and 5% Asian students.
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