On February 5th, a racially charged science fair project was put up by a student of McClatchy High School in Sacramento. The student’s hypothesis was “if the average IQs of blacks, Southeast Asians, and Hispanics are lower than the average IQs of non-Hispanic whites and Northeast Asians, then the disproportionately in HISP (an advance student group) is justified.” The student used an online quiz to develop his conclusion that “As can be seen, non-Hispanic whites and Northeast Asians have an IQ advantage of fifteen points over blacks and Southeast Asians, and ten points over non-white Hispanics. Therefore, the hypothesis is accepted…” For obvious reasons, this created significant controversy and raised a plethora of questions about McClatchy and the “Humanitanities and International Studies” program.
The project remained standing for two days; it was taken down in the morning only after students, staff, and parents complained. The project also had to have gone through a teacher to be approved before being showcased. This has raised many questions about the school staff’s ethics.
A week after the project was taken down, a forum was held to discuss whether top academic schools were disproportionately excluding minority students access to their schools. Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, Superintendent Jorge Aguilar, and roughly 250 concerned Sacramento citizens gathered to have this discussion.
“What we see, is that of the 184 students that apply and are in the lottery, only 7% are African American,” Superintendent Jorge Aguilar stated during the meeting. “Even though they make up 14% of our class, and of the 349 that didn’t apply, they’re only 6%”
“We can’t tell ourselves that we’re going to wait until we’ve addressed the roots of this issue to start addressing the (topic point),” Amos Karlsen, a senior at McClatchy High School said during the discussion. “So one of the things I noticed, one of the things I wasn’t surprised by was the fact that only one student of every 40 who met the criteria that the district created (applied).”
This, however, is not the first time a staff member of McClatchy did something questionable. On October 3rd, 2016, a coach named Joakima Gregg called out three girls by their color instead of by their names, saying “three little black girls go sit down”. Coach Gregg did not face repercussions, and was claimed to have only given “vague individual apologies and only a vague mention to the teams.”
There is currently an investigation into HISP programs and how they select their students. Whether the HISP programs will become more diverse with the people they let into their programs, or if they continue to be the way they are, remains to be seen.