California science fair project tying race, IQ sparks outcry

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A Northern California school district
is investigating how a science project correlating low
intelligence with racial groups was on full display at a science
fair, where it drew outrage from some students, parents and

The project by a Sacramento high school student enrolled in an
elite magnet program, titled “Race and IQ,” questioned whether
certain races lack the intelligence for the program’s
academically challenging coursework.

The Sacramento Bee, which published the story Saturday, did not
speak to the student at C.K. McClatchy High School and is not
identifying the minor. The project was on view with others Monday
as part of an annual science fair but was removed Wednesday after

On Thursday, school Principal Peter Lambert sent an email to
parents saying that the school is taking the incident seriously
and implementing appropriate measures to provide an inclusive

Some people outraged by the racially charged project say it
points to the larger problem: the lack of racial and ethnic
diversity in the school’s elite Humanities and International
Studies program.

The program, which was designed to promote cultural awareness and
sensitivity, enrolls about 500 students. They include a dozen
African American students, 80 Latino students and about 100 Asian
American students, according to data provided by the district.

“I think that a lot of people, especially of color, are really
hurt and upset by this,” said Chrysanthe Vidal, an
African-American senior who is in the program.

The student tested his race and intelligence hypothesis by having
a handful of unidentified teens of various racial and ethnic
backgrounds take an online intelligence test.

His report concluded that the lower average IQs “of blacks,
Southeast Asians, and non-white Hispanics” means they were not as
likely as “non-Hispanic whites and Northeast Asians” to get into
the academically rigorous program. He said the test results
justified the racial imbalance in the program.

Sacramento Unified school district spokesman Alex Barrios said
the district was aware of the controversy and is looking into the

“We are looking into the appropriate response to a situation like
this,” said Barrios. “We understand it concerns a lot of people
and doesn’t reflect our culture here.”

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