Now this is crazy even for a place like Berzerkeley-the “famously liberal college town… [that] prides itself on having one of the highest concentrations of PhDs in the country,” as the Los Angeles Times put it.

Berkeley High School’s Governance Council thinks that the way to close its dismal racial achievement gap is to shift funding from science labs to its “equity” programs-even though per-pupil funding in the Berkeley Unified District averaged more than $17,000 in 2008, according to California education department data.

The justification for what the council euphemistically calls its “High School Redesign” comes from an analysis conducted by a teacher in the school’s math department, which found white students predominate in the more rigorous lab courses, while African American and Latino students overwhelmingly enroll in the less rigorous science courses that don’t require labs. Apparently, using Berzerkeley math, short-changing the academic “haves” now makes up for years worth of shortchanging the academic “have-nots.”

“Our community at Berkeley High School has failed the African Americans,” explained Principal Jim Slemp, trying to defend his plan. “We need to bring everybody up – that’s what this plan is about.” Among the plan’s harshest critics were students. During public hearings last week Berkeley High student Dmitri Gaskin blasted the plan as “bringing the top down instead of bringing the bottom up.” Another student submitted a petition with more than 300 signatures to preserve the science labs. “It’s not fair to say that some students can’t get there,” pleaded Berkeley High senior Noah Brozosky. “I have two jobs and I still manage to go to the labs. You can’t learn everything out of a book.”

The local school board will be reviewing Berkeley High’s “redesign” over the coming months; but the full implications of this latest episode of what Michelle Malkin refers to as “Diversity Uber Alles run amok” extend far beyond Berkeley. “As with most equalization crusades, whether in education or in the economy, it is about equalizing downward, by lowering those at the top,” writes Thomas Sowell. “This is not just a crazy idea by one principal in Berkeley. It is a crazy idea taught in schools of education across the country.”

One wonders what notable Berkeley High alumni-scientists such as the late MIT physics professor Richard Bolt or Pei-Yuan Wei, an award-winner in his Intro to Civil Engineering class at Berkeley High, would have to say about their alma mater’s suggested “redesign.”