California lawmakers have voted to prohibit a controversial practice by Kennedy and Cypress High Schools that required students to carry color-coded ID cards and notebooks based on their standardized test scores, the LA Times reports.
The state Senate voted 34-2 to pass AB 1166, a bill proposed by Democratic state Sen. Jose Solorio that prohibits schools from tethering information about student test scores to "any object a pupil may be required to carry while at school."
The bill must now be re-approved in the assembly due to amendments made while in the Senate.
Democratic state Sen. Lou Correa said the color-coding can be "embarrassing and demoralizing" to students who did not perform as well as others.
The controversy began last October when Orange County's Kennedy High School mandated that black identification cards be issued to the top performers on the previous year's standardized tests, gold cards be issued to students who scored proficient, and white cards be issued to students who scored below proficient.
At the time, school officials said they saw the cards as a motivator, citing "tremendous results, and the kids love it."
Students issued black and gold cards would receive a wide array of discounts and campus privileges, while those carrying white cards would receive no such privileges and would be have to stand in a separate cafeteria line, according to ABC.
"You see a lot of condescending attitudes toward everyone without a black card," Kennedy senior Kiana Miyamoto, 16, told the Orange County Register at the time. "One IB student said in class, 'Hey, you're in IB. Anyone who has a white card shouldn't even be in IB.' It's really sad to see people who have the black cards acting this way."
"Even in regular classes, if a kid has a black or a gold card, they act like they're on top of the world," Kennedy sophomore Samantha Lopp told the Register. "It just makes the rest of us feel worse inside."
Anaheim Union High School District, in which Kennedy and Cypress High Schools are located, nixed the color-coding program shortly afterward.
"The incentive programs at two AUHSD campuses were implemented with the best intentions. They were designed to support and encourage students to do their best on a state test they are mandated to take," school board officials said in a statement."Yet, even with the best intentions, we recognize that innovative programs sometimes have unintended consequences that may impact some of our students," the statement continued. "Students will no longer carry color-coded binders"