Virginia’s ‘Together and Unequal’ School Standards

Andrew Rotherham, Washington Post, August 24, 2012

For years, Virginia tried to sidestep various provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind education law. No Child’s accountability requirements are awkward because they threaten to shine a bright light on the highly uneven performance of Virginia’s schools and the state’s significant achievement gaps. So when Education Secretary Arne Duncan allowed states to set new performance targets earlier this year, Virginia, along with many other states, jumped at the chance. Unfortunately, rather than taking the opportunity to focus more on underserved students, the state took the stunning step of adopting dramatically different school performance targets based on race, ethnicity and income.

{snip} Virginia’s new policy is anything but subtle. For example, under the new rules, schools are expected to have 78 percent of white students and 89 percent of Asian students passing Virginia’s Standards of Learning math tests but just 57 percent of black students, 65 percent of Hispanic students and 59 percent of low-income students. The goals for special-education students are even lower, at 49 percent. Worse, those targets are for 2017. The intermediate targets are even less ambitious—36 percent for special-education students this year, for instance. Goals for reading will be set later.

{snip} Virginia students of all races and incomes go to school together, but “together and unequal” is the message of the new policy. Assuming that not even six in 10 poor or black students will pass the state’s math test in 2017 reinforces negative beliefs about what should be expected from these students. Virginia’s chapter of the NAACP and the Legislative Black Caucus have already spoken out against the new policy.

There are better ways to design an accountability system. For starters, Virginia could set common targets that assume minority and poor students can pass state tests at the same rates as others and at the same time provide substantially more support to these students and their schools.

{snip} The new performance targets do anticipate some closing of the achievement for students groups that now lag behind. Yet little in recent history, state policy or the waiver plan approved by Duncan inspires confidence that Virginia will redouble its efforts on behalf of struggling students.

State officials argue that because these performance targets are not the same as what Virginia uses for school accreditation, this is not really a “together but unequal” policy. Unfortunately, relying on the accreditation system inadvertently reveals the extent of Virginia’s problem. For schools to be fully accredited, they need only pass a fixed percentage of students, usually 70 percent, and there is no disaggregation or accountability by race, income or any socioeconomic group at all.

This approach masks substantial achievement gaps in many schools. It’s also why 96 percent of all Virginia schools are fully accredited at the same time that only 18 percent of black eighth-graders, 18 percent of low-income eighth-graders and 27 percent of Hispanic eighth-graders are proficient in math in the benchmark National Assessment of Educational Progress.


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  • Chris

    This feels like… progress.

    • Church_of_Jed

      Real Progess would show up when Jared Taylor applies his vast talent and resources to analyzing and publicizing the collapse of Massive Resistance in Virginia and what that means for us today and why we must  seize the lessons of that failure to build our strength for tomorrow.

      •  Why don’t you apply your talent to that problem?

        • Church_of_Jed

          He’s on the scene, and I’m in Minnesota.

          • Keep spreading the word  Jed!

          • alastairabbacle

             Say a locale and time.  It is time to create positive force on the ground.  Agree?  How best to go about this?

            Otherwise, the Upper Midwest will be like this.  Even Somalis don’t want this.  This can’t be that hard to stop.  No question, there is a dangerously organized pro-refugee movement, with financial profit and political power. 

            What is do be done?

  • Mika12375

    It is truly difficult to believe anybody with the talent to write an article like this can be so oblivious to the truth.  I guess I can’t bring myself to believe they really are  are oblivious.

    •  You would be surprised at how little money it takes for lefties (intelligent or not) to sell their soul.

    • HadEnough

      Agreed. They’re not oblivious at all. It’s just a matter of posturing.

    •  what is the truth? the fact that blacks murder whites at 136 times the rate?
      the fact that the government supports discrimination towards whites through their various “equal” opportunity organizations?
      the fact that the southern poverty law center is corrupt as all hell?
      the fact that liberals are promoting genocide?
      tell me what is the truth?

  • JohnEngelman

    I am glad that The Washington Post is drawing attention, however begrudgingly, to the fact that No Child Left Behind has left most black and Hispanic children behind. The truth matters. 

  • APaige

    ” Virginia could set common targets that assume minority and poor students can pass state tests at the same rates as others and at the same time provide substantially more support to these students and their schools.” There is the PROBLEM-masking minority issues with poverty, believing blacks/hispanics can be up to the task, and give more money (‘support’). Poor whites and Asians outperform the wealthy blacks and hispanics (affirmative action is not passed on through genes, like other attributes), the gap has never closed ANYWHERE, and more money has never worked.

    • That is the TRUTH, whether it’s New York City’s school system, San Francisco’s school system,  Wheeling West Virginia’s school system, Phoenix Arizona’s school system, or Worcester Massachusetts’ school system. Bantu and mestizo students lag behind Caucasians and Orientals in virtually every academic achievement area.

      How TF can this be? Aren’t they spending enough money? Aren’t the teachers being intensive enough in their presentations? Aren’t the students reading from the same texts? Don’t they all sit in the same classrooms for the same amount of time, as all the other students?

      Somethin ELSE must be at work here. I believe Phillippe Rushton wrote a book on it.

      Something about a bell and a curve…. 

  • Shorter WaPo:  Complain about NCLB, demand that Obama issue waivers thereof, then complain when Virginia gets a waiver.

  • Church_of_Jed

    “Common sense” is code word for “we love our White privilege and don’t want to lose any more of it to the Diversity Nazis”.

    “Common sense” will soon be outlawed as hate speech.

    • There is a lot of money to be made in shutting of the common sense of people.  It enables both greedy capitalists and loan sharks, and power-hungry socialists to get what they do.  The pincers against common sense come from the soulless Right, and the avaricious Left.

      Common sense:  When everyone lived in a village, they could just see.   Gee, it seems to me that smart people tend to have smart children. 

      Check out what is going on in Brazil, it is a prediction of our future:
      “Brazil, that country just killed its chances of being a great 21st c. power:

      Somewhere the Chinese are laughing. One less competitor.

      • The__Bobster

        Out of around 191m Brazilians, 91 million identified themselves as white, 82m as mixed race and 15m as black. In states with large black or mixed-race populations, like Bahia in the northeast, that could lead to a surge in black university students, while states in southern Brazil, which are largely white, could still have relatively few black students in public universities.

        They don’t have a chance, unless the south separates from the north.

      • I visited that post, paisan. On the one hand, Brazil is lauded for its racial diversity. Yet, it’s being decried for being “unequal” on the other.

        How the samhill can you have equality, when you have diversity? How can that which is different be equal to anything else?

        To illustrate, look at the Periodic Table of the Elements – a diverse bunch of matter, if ever there was. How can helium be equal to gold? How can rutherfordium be equal to tin?

        Or, consider nature. How can a goldfish be equal to a basking shark? How can a hummingbird be equal to a grizzly bear? 

  • Go Virginia!
    This is the future of education policy.

  • Check out this smooth operator comment who got past the brownshirts though:

    “My child attends a diverse public school
    and I can tell you that I think this achievement gap focus is
    discriminatory toward white students. The resources go to bringing up
    the bottom (ie Black and Hispanic students) and little attention to
    bringing EVERYONE along. In our school the whites suffer since so much
    time is spent doing remedial work with the minorities and children with

    The brownshirts are going to have to roll their sleeves up, it is going to be tough to neutralize their vast opposition.  Yes we can! – look out for our own self-interest! 

    •  we should call them the red shirts
      commies are anti white and the brown shirts were regrettably pro white.

  • HamletsGhost

    About the same number of comments as AmRen does. I’ve written comments on these boards that target a certain anti-white group and they’re deleted the same day. 

  • purestocles

    Didn’t La Griffe du Lion say something to the effect that that there are two ways to insure equal outcomes between races with respect to academic achievement and one of them is to make the test so hard that everyone (irrespective of race) fails and the other is to make the test so easy that every one passes.

    And in The Bell Curve the statistic is given that roughly 95% (somewhere around there) of money applied to special programs to facilitate learning in the public schools goes towards the bottom end, for remedial work, rather than towards the higher achieving students.

    So according to Rotherham we should lower the bar until anyone can casually step over it while throwing yet more money at enabling the underachievers. 

    Somehow this doesn’t sound like a winning combination if the goal is to prepare young people to function in a technically demanding society.   

  • Studying is hard work and blacks children would rather be shooting hoops and making trouble.

  • Jim

    Subject Off Topic but:

    Why has so little been written about the Muslim Jumah Prayer meeting across the street from the DNC?

    They expect 20,000 people to show up.
    Opps only 200 did.
    Sorry Mr O. guess your buddies misjudged their drawing power?

    • dukem1

       I think you missed the point.  It’s a start.

  • The best lampooned pronunciation for my money is “rayciss”, pronounced with the lisp of a liberal all-agog.

  • Detroit_WASP

    The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) policies of George Bush are being LEFT BEHIND.  Treating everyone equally wasn’t working out very well.   

    Scores of black schools were caught cheating on tests for fear of being closed under the NCLB rules.

    Strange how the new standards reflect what we AmRen regulars already know!!!!!  LOL

    Asians on top, then whites, hispanics, then blacks.  EVERY test ever conceived reflects this.

    • The Worlds Scapegoat

       G.W. Bush’s NCLB policy is/was pure stupidity. The idea was to keep closing schools that failed students and move those students to better “white” schools until there was only one big school that was total chaos. Rather than take the promising kids out and give them something special, they take the scum and put them in with good kids to undermine their future. Pure genius!

  • IstvanIN

    Perhaps the tests should be culturally based.  White students would be tested on their use of standard English and math and the use of the foot/pound system.  Black students would be tested on their comprehension of Ebonics and the metric system (don’t they sell their “products” by the gram, although they do like 40s as well).  Hispanics would be tested on their comprehension of pidgin Spanglish and smuggling.  That would be fair, wouldn’t it?

  • The Worlds Scapegoat

    It is not just about learning. It is about safety. One dumb white kids is not as violent as 20 dumb black kids.