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San Diego Unified announces plan to judge winners of athletic contests based on “mastery” instead of scores

Point(s) Taken

Above, San Ysidro’s starting five. Below, four of Coronado’s starters. Justice: “The idea that there’s a level playing field here — or in this case, a level basketball court — is simply laughable.”
Above, San Ysidro’s starting five. Below, four of Coronado’s starters. Justice: “The idea that there’s a level playing field here — or in this case, a level basketball court — is simply laughable.”

On February 28, the San Ysidro boys basketball team defeated Coronado 71-59 to win the Division III CIF Championship. For San Ysidro, it was an occasion to celebrate. For Rachel Justice, San Diego Unified School District’s Anti-Racism Program Director and Re-Education Chief, it was an occasion to do some hard thinking. Says Justice, “When you see that kind of lopsided score in a game between teams that are supposed to be competitive, you have to ask yourself some questions about why Coronado’s players couldn’t perform at the level of their Black opponents. Is it because they’re white, and white men can’t jump? Or is it because they’ve been told their whole lives that they’ll never be able to compete in this arena? It it because Blacks are just quicker, or is it because nearly every role model for a young basketball player is Black? Is it because Blacks have better court sense, or is it because these white boys have stood on the sidelines at park pickup games, going unpicked again and again, and thus being denied the opportunity to hone their skills during crucial developmental years? These plucky, pasty youngsters have ignored the haters and persevered, content in the knowledge that they’ll have to work twice as hard to earn a place at the table. They’ve beaten the odds, become the best ballers they can be, and made it all the way to the finals, only to get blown out of the house and essentially told they don’t belong. It’s not healthy, and it’s not right, and it’s not how it’s going to be any more, I can tell you that.”

Continues Justice: “San Diego Unified has already announced their plan to stop issuing grades based on test scores and the timely completion of homework or any ‘other factors that directly measure students’ knowledge and skills in the content area,’ since Blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans were shown to be more likely to fail when those are the criteria. Instead, grades will be the result of a student’s mastery of the subject matter, as determined by the instructor. Similarly, going forward, the officials regulating high school sporting events within the school district will determine the winner based on a number of factors, as opposed to the reductive simplicity of the final score. Things like fundamental skills, teamwork, and a demonstrated understanding of the sport’s dynamics. Fair is fair.”

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Above, San Ysidro’s starting five. Below, four of Coronado’s starters. Justice: “The idea that there’s a level playing field here — or in this case, a level basketball court — is simply laughable.”
Above, San Ysidro’s starting five. Below, four of Coronado’s starters. Justice: “The idea that there’s a level playing field here — or in this case, a level basketball court — is simply laughable.”

On February 28, the San Ysidro boys basketball team defeated Coronado 71-59 to win the Division III CIF Championship. For San Ysidro, it was an occasion to celebrate. For Rachel Justice, San Diego Unified School District’s Anti-Racism Program Director and Re-Education Chief, it was an occasion to do some hard thinking. Says Justice, “When you see that kind of lopsided score in a game between teams that are supposed to be competitive, you have to ask yourself some questions about why Coronado’s players couldn’t perform at the level of their Black opponents. Is it because they’re white, and white men can’t jump? Or is it because they’ve been told their whole lives that they’ll never be able to compete in this arena? It it because Blacks are just quicker, or is it because nearly every role model for a young basketball player is Black? Is it because Blacks have better court sense, or is it because these white boys have stood on the sidelines at park pickup games, going unpicked again and again, and thus being denied the opportunity to hone their skills during crucial developmental years? These plucky, pasty youngsters have ignored the haters and persevered, content in the knowledge that they’ll have to work twice as hard to earn a place at the table. They’ve beaten the odds, become the best ballers they can be, and made it all the way to the finals, only to get blown out of the house and essentially told they don’t belong. It’s not healthy, and it’s not right, and it’s not how it’s going to be any more, I can tell you that.”

Continues Justice: “San Diego Unified has already announced their plan to stop issuing grades based on test scores and the timely completion of homework or any ‘other factors that directly measure students’ knowledge and skills in the content area,’ since Blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans were shown to be more likely to fail when those are the criteria. Instead, grades will be the result of a student’s mastery of the subject matter, as determined by the instructor. Similarly, going forward, the officials regulating high school sporting events within the school district will determine the winner based on a number of factors, as opposed to the reductive simplicity of the final score. Things like fundamental skills, teamwork, and a demonstrated understanding of the sport’s dynamics. Fair is fair.”

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