North Thurston Public Schools lumped Asian and white students together in its equity report and measured their achievements against a student of color category that includes people of Black, Hispanic, Native American, Pacific Islander and multi-racial students, according to Reason.com, a libertarian magazine.
The move drew scrutiny on social media.
“I guess we are “white” now,” one user tweeted.
The school district, located 55 miles south of Seattle, oversees 22 schools and about 16,000 students. The report intended to highlight the opportunity gap between students of color and the rest of the student body.
In a statement, the school district said its goal is to increase the growth rate of underperforming groups eliminating achievement and opportunity gaps.
“For this reason, in one of our online documents from 2019, titled “Monitoring Student Growth,” we evaluated the achievement data by “Students of Color” and “Students of Poverty,'” it said. “In the document we grouped White and Asian students together.”
Moving forward, district officials will change how achievement data is observed and apologized for the “negative impact we have caused and removed the monitoring report from our website.”
Race-based classifications in schools have come under scrutiny in recent years. In California, voters recently decided against reinstating affirmative action policies, which would allow race and gender preferences in college admissions and government employment.
The measure was defeated 57% to 43% despite being endorsed by top Democrats.