My son's list for incoming freshman (honors and regular) was a choice of three little books. He picked one and we ordered it. When it arrived, he read it in one day, then went back to the other more interesting books he was readiing.
Our high school insists on using the same reading list for honors and regular and there are only 2 tracks. The Honors class simply assigns 1 or 2 more from the same weak list.
They must not teach different material in the Honors classes so they require science fair participation or a research paper (not corrected for grammar) to justify the Honors points.
How unsurprising that the school's stated purpose is to close the achievement gap.
The saddest part is that this focus simply reenforces that what kids can be is coming from the home, not the school. The well educated, attentive parents can buy better math and science textbooks, pick out better books for summer reading, and hire tutors to teach grammar.
In the school's emphasis to obtain "equity" by just assigning work within the grasp of most kids, they perpetuate inequities and take away education as the avenue to move beyond the circumstances you were born into.
Seriously, even the regular English track can handle more than one naval-gazing coming of age mini-book.