- The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics is facing a federal civil rights complaint over its “Step Up to STEM” summer program.
- The program is accused of violating federal civil rights law by restricting eligibility to only black, Hispanic, and Native American students.
- The school could lose federal funding if the Department of Education finds it in violation of federal law.
A federal civil rights complaint has been filed against the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM), the top-ranked public high school in the United States, for a summer program that solicits applications exclusively from black, Hispanic, and Native American students.
Parents Defending Education, a parent activist group, claims that the school’s “Step Up to STEM” program is in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits racial discrimination in any program or activity that receives federal funding.
The “Step Up to STEM” program is a summer initiative designed for rising ninth and 10th-grade students to enhance their skills in science, math, technology, and communications.
To participate, students must apply and be accepted into the program, which only accepts applications from eighth-grade African American, Hispanic American, and Native American students residing in North Carolina.
In 2022, NCSSM was ranked as the country’s top public high school by Niche school rankings.
If the Department of Education chooses to investigate the complaint and determines that the school violated federal law, NCSSM could lose its federal funding.
At the time of writing, the school has not commented on the issue.
Parents Defending Education vice president Caroline Moore expressed disappointment at the school’s decision to restrict eligibility based on race, drawing comparisons to Virginia’s Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, which revamped its admissions process to accept more black students.
In the fight for equal opportunities, the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) has missed the mark by restricting eligibility for their “Step Up to STEM” summer program based on race.
I will always believe that merit should be the determining factor in educational opportunities, not skin color.
The NCSSM’s decision to exclusively solicit applications from black, Hispanic, and Native American students not only violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but it also perpetuates racial divisions in our society.
Equality means giving everyone a fair shot, not tilting the scales in favor of certain racial groups. By excluding other students based on their race, NCSSM is sending a message that merit is secondary to skin color, which is counterproductive to the goal of true equality.
This decision is reminiscent of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology’s controversial admissions overhaul, which ultimately led to a decline in academic standards.
Instead of following in the footsteps of a previously esteemed institution, NCSSM should strive for excellence by offering opportunities to all students, regardless of race.
As a nation, we must work together to create a more equitable society. However, this cannot be achieved by implementing discriminatory policies that divide us further.
Educational institutions like NCSSM should prioritize merit-based opportunities, ensuring that all students have the chance to succeed and contribute to our nation’s progress.