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TAFT program replaces HCC at Washington Middle School

Dhani Srinivasan, Opinions Editor
Originally published March 5, 2020

Due to growing complaints over the inequity posed by the Highly Capable Cohorts (HCC) program in Seattle Schools, the district is planning to phase it out in favor of a program that will boost the outcomes of students of color at Washington Middle School.

The racially diverse Washington will be jointly run by the Technology Access Foundation (TAF) starting in fall of the 2020-21 school year. TAF works to build opportunities for students of color to engage in STEM education.

Fittingly, on their website the TAF mission reads “We build collaborative relationships with public education to create access to transformative systems of learning for students and teachers of color to eliminate race-based disparities in an increasingly diverse society.”

The nonprofit organization has achieved success in several other districts in Washington such as in Federal Way and Tacoma. 

There has not yet been a district proposal on the future of the HCC program as a whole. However, this past November, Superintendent Denise Juneau endorsed a change in the cohort model. 

“There is something fundamentally wrong with a system that upholds racial segregation and continuously produces such clear disparities while failing to address them,” said Juneau in an opinion for the Seattle Times. 

Nationally, the Seattle School District ranks as one of the highest in terms of the opportunity gap between Black, Indigenous, and Latinx students in comparison to White and Asian students. Senior Aneesa Roidad is currently on a district team that is reviewing the HCC program and making a recommendation on it. 

“[TAF] is a much better than a program like HCC because it is made for Black and Brown students whereas HCC is a segregated program that takes White students from students of color who are disproportionately not in HCC,” senior Aneesa Roidad said. “Washington currently is a very segregated school.”

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TAFT program replaces HCC at Washington Middle School