Patrick Henry High School Gets Rid of Honors Classes, Principal Says It is For “Equity”

Written by Sasha Reva

The largest schools in San Diego, Patrick Henry High School, canceled some of the honors courses without informing the student’s parents due to the “equity”. Parents are shocked and devastated that the lack of honors courses will hurt students’ chances of getting into universities. Parents are also angered at the fact that they were kept in the dark about the change from the school. 

The principal, Michelle Irwin, claims she made the decision in the name of “equity.” Principal Irwin said cutting the honors courses would eliminate racial discrimination.

A concerned parent of a Patrick Henry student tried to talk to Principal Michelle Irwin, and Superintendent Erin Richardson of Area 6. 

Some of the email exchanges went as follows:

“We strongly believe the changes we’ve recommended will benefit all students by more accurately reflecting both the rigor and credit opportunities provided by courses to help students prepare for both college and career,” Richardson commented. 

“Parents are incredibly frustrated at what appears to be a unilateral decision by Ms. Irwin. We know that teachers are angry and unsupportive of these class eliminations,” the unnamed parent said. 

“Was there a communication to parents letting them know about this decision? If not, why not? You said I have incorrect information. In fact, I have zero information from the school, and am only learning of the changes because from other parents.  I’m happy to share correct information, but with no context, it is difficult to do that,” which means that they did not contact parents about the elimination of honors classes.

“At a minimum, you should have been proactive and shared your rationale ahead of rolling out changes rather than waiting for parents to hear about it and ask questions. I was also discouraged to hear that they declined to sit down with parents to discuss changes like this one, the change to the grading policy, new changes impacting students in the Engineering program, etc. I hope you reconsider and offer parents a forum to understand the changes, and also to understand their options”. Why there were no communications with the parents? The school should be here to educate students and not take away their education. Taking away these courses will deprive students of educational opportunities. 

A full thread of the email exchange between the concerned parent, Principal Irwin and the Superintendent was published by KUSI.

Photo Cred: Patrick Henry High School/ SDUSD