Anaheim Schools Axe 'Humiliating' Color-Coded Student ID Program

Categories: School Daze
dunce-cap-150x150.jpg
The modern-day dunce cap?
The Anaheim Union High School District went under fire last week for segregating kids based on color, though not in the way you may think.  

Two schools, John F. Kennedy in La Palma and Cypress in Anaheim, required students to carry around identification cards and matching planners in colors that revealed how well they performed on standardized tests. At Kennedy, black cards were reserved for top scorers, gold cards were for the middle group and white cards were given to the lowest performers. (At Cypress, platinum replaced black.)

It was an incentive system--students with black, platinum and gold cards were rewarded with certain privileges and freebies, like school football game tickets, while those with white cards received no such perks and even had to wait in a designated (read: slower) line in the cafeteria.

Yeeeah, the system didn't pan out so well. Days after the Orange County Register broke the story last week, the district killed the program.  

Some parents and educators called the white cards the modern-day dunce cap or scarlet letter. One mom told the paper that a Kennedy administrator jokingly encouraged girls to go to dances with black-card holders instead of white-card holders. Education Week blogger Anthony Cody wrote that the program "essentially 'brands' students according to their academic performance on this one set of tests, and then rewards or humiliates them accordingly." 

State officials said the program violated student privacy laws, the Register reported. Though school administrators fought that claim, pointing out that actual test scores were always obscured. The program took into account whether one's scores improved or dropped from previous years, so it was possible for a student with a white card to have higher test scores that someone with a gold card.   

The Anaheim Union High School District, which equipped school-skipping kids with GPS devices earlier this year, will be replacing the ID cards and planners with new ones--all of the same color, and plans to find a new way to reward students who perform well on standardized tests. 

Cartoonist Donovan Wheeler has an idea.  

My Voice Nation Help
22 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
lynn
lynn

Okay My daughter goes to one of these schools and was ecstatic to receive her platinum card! She worked her but off to do well on testing! Let me ask this why are we always protecting the kids who could care less about their education, about doing homework and being successful in school??? We have ALL these programs for those who FAIL!!! We give one reward to those who succeed and it's discrimination.. Really ???? Well parents put that energy that you so heartily complain with towards your kids who have wrongly been discriminated against because their NOT smart enough and help them succeed ! This is so ridiculous......

Rachel
Rachel

now a days, if you are too smart, you are weird. if you are smart, its expected. if you are dumb, you are shunned upon or either given high fives. fucked up.welcome to high school.

EdC
EdC

Here we go, dumbing down the hard work of students! I believe students should be rewarded for hard work and the ensuing achievements -- that's the way it works in real life.

JP
JP

This is not about race ,Its how hard a student works to achieve high testing scores.My daughter is Latina and has the highest color card and its because she studys five hours a day after school .Parents should stop complaining and make there kids study harder if they want perks .This prepares them for the real world .SO STOP BITCHING AND STUDY CABRONES!

Truth.
Truth.

Yes, as stated, this is not about race. This is about segregating students on information that is based on one, yes one, standardized test. Standardized tests alone cannot and will never speak to ones academic achievement and potential. To connect such scores to a public forum such as lunch time violates privacy laws, especially when it's completely humiliating for someone who doesn't necessarily test well and will never test well. These standardized tests will never measure someone's true potential. Especially because they don't benefit anyone other than the state and districts that administer them. I'm sure your daughter is an outstanding student, but there are hundreds of thousands of students who are just as great who don't test as well, not to mention students with learning disabilities and other limitations that render poor test scores. So, this so-called "bitching" is well-deserved because this issue lies farther than your take on it. The proof lies in the fact that this program was immediately canceled. 

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

Thank You! You hit the nail on the head...standardized tests don't prove a damn thing about intelligence or potential...so why open up students to ridicule from peers (or even teachers) based on the arbitrary scores of an arbitrary test?

Diane
Diane

"...plans to find a new way to reward students who perform well on standardized tests." Shouldn't they perform well on the test, regardless?! I don't see why the District should go out of their way to reward students for behavior that is expected of them.

Anthony in Manhattan
Anthony in Manhattan

this was a great idea, too bad political correctness canned it... mediocrity will continue.

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

Right...like students with learning problems aren't stigmatized enough? Exactly what is supposed to motivate students to succeed...walking around in a state of perpetual humiliation at school because they carry the "idiot" card? Like high school isn't hell already...

EdC
EdC

Students with learning problems are going to have to accept the fact that if they do not overcome it, they will be adults with job securing problems! You use what abilities you have and make the most of them. Some students will become millionaires and some will not! That's life.Please, let's stop dumbing down the educational system and life! Those who can do will do and those who cannot do will not --- accept it!

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

Still missing my point. Do you seriously believe that a "color" system or similar program isn't going lead to the "smart" kids picking on the "dumb" kids? How is that going to encourage students who are having problems to improve? Like I said before...why was this information (color coding) not given to teachers ONLY if it was meant strictly to improve education? It's as if they WANT struggling students to be ridiculed by their peers...

Michelle
Michelle

Sure, stigmas are worse in larger schools, but this is not a bad system at all. If the student decides to stay in that category because of "stigmas" then that shows their immaturity and lack of drive (which is the reason they are in that category to begin with) -- which hopefully, would help alert teachers to who would need more guidance and who wouldnt. Some system like this is better than nothing at all. There is some non PC aspect to it but the intentions were good.

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

Good intentions aside...if these card/planner colors are strictly for aiding the teachers then why are they in plain view of other students?

Francis
Francis

The idea is that the cards are for the teachers, not the students, to help identify who would need "more supervision." The labels exist already-- it's only getting institutionalized this way. 

909Jeff
909Jeff

Yeah because god forbid we prepare these kids for real life where they may end up being "Incentive's" for hard work and achievement... 

Like for example Michelle, I generally Like your articles so therefore Gustavo should give you a bottle of Cazadores for exceptional work... Coker has been doing pretty good as of late so he gets a bottle of Cuervo, Lieberman kind of fell off last week so he gets a 12er of natural light... and Moxley gets nada but better luck next week! 

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

If "pretty good" gets you a bottle of Cuervo (51% agave, 49% meados de gato) then clearly we need a series over on Stick a Fork In It on how to drink tequila without looking like a pendejo. :-P

909Jeff
909Jeff

hey the incentive comp falls off quickly... As far as tequila goes for me... straight, no condiments. 

liberals are hypocrites
liberals are hypocrites

who needs cards, we all know who the high and low performers are... right gustavo?

DubV
DubV

Kennedy and Cypress are two of Anaheim's more European-American (White) schools according to their 2009-2010 SARC reports Cypress is 40% Euro-American and Kennedy is 25% and if you compare that to the population at Oxford Academy which is only 12% percent Euro-American I guess you can figure that question out yourself without any of Gustavo's help unless you're illiterate and would need assistance formulating a rational answer...

PS you're blogging-ease up on the common splices little buddy-hopefully you're not an English instructor

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

My fanboys SO want my attention--quite pathetic haha

Vertov
Vertov

Its hard to imagine this sort of ranking system not blowing up in the administrators' faces. As if high school kids aren't into cliques and hierarchies already.

mitch young
mitch young

"white cards were given to the lowest performers."

Of course they were.

Now Trending

Anaheim Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Fashion

General

Loading...