D.C. Schools Set New Achievement Targets for Students by Race and Income

Emma Brown, Washington Post, September 18, 2012

Every public school in the United States has aimed for the same goal over the past decade: that all students be proficient in math and reading by 2014.

But that noble ambition, educators and experts almost universally agree, was never realistic. Now, in the District and many states, goals over the next five years tend to be lower for black, Hispanic and poor children than they are for white and Asian students, and in the District, they tend to be higher at schools in affluent areas than in poor neighborhoods. It’s a policy shift that strikes some parents as a form of prejudice.

Officials say the new targets account for differences in current performance and demand the fastest progress from students who are furthest behind. The goals vary across much of the country by race, family income and disability, and in Washington, they also vary by school.

At Anacostia High, which draws almost exclusively African Americans from one of the District’s most impoverished areas, officials aim to quadruple the proportion of students who are proficient in reading by 2017, but that would still mean that fewer than six out of 10 pass standardized reading tests. Across town at the School Without Walls in Northwest Washington, a diverse and high-performing magnet that enrolls students from across the city, the aim is higher: 99.6 percent.

Meanwhile, at Wilson Senior High, 67 percent of black students—and 88 percent of Asians and 95 percent of whites—are expected to pass standardized math tests five years from now.

Setting different aspirations for different groups of children represents a sea change in national education policy, which for years has prescribed blanket goals for all students. Some education experts see the new approach as a way to speed achievement for black, Latino and low-income students, but some parents can’t help but feel that less is being expected of their children.


City and federal education officials say they’re not retreating from the conviction that all children can learn. Instead, they say, they’re trying to bring about real change by setting attainable goals that reflect an unavoidable truth: Some schools, and some students, lag far behind others.

Under the new approach, low performers will be required to make larger gains each year than higher-achieving students so that the gap between student groups is cut in half by 2017.


The policy shift follows intensifying criticism that No Child Left Behind—the federal education law that requires 100 percent proficiency by 2014—unfairly punishes schools for failing to meet pie-in-the-sky achievement targets.


Besides the District, 27 of the 33 states that won waivers—including Maryland and Virginia—have set different targets for different groups of students.

In Maryland, state officials aim for black students statewide to progress from 76 to 88 percent reading proficiency by 2017. White students’ reading proficiency should grow from 92 to 96 percent over the same period, according to Maryland targets.

Virginia officials originally put forth goals that would have narrowed racial achievement gaps only slightly. That prompted complaints from civil rights groups, and in August, state and federal officials agreed to make revisions. The state education board will set new targets in late September, targets that are expected to vary by student group.


Citywide [in D.C.], the proportion of white students who pass standardized tests in reading will have to grow from 88 to 94 percent by 2017, or about 1 percentage point each year. Pass rates for black children, meanwhile, must grow five times faster—from 41 to 71 percent.


Topics: , ,

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • The truth is a pesky little bugger.

    • Ain’t that the truth.

    • Oil Can Harry

      Howdy, George W. Bush here.

      As your former president and “decider” I want to condemn these schools for their SOFT BIGOTRY OF LOW EXPECTIONS.

      My No Child Left Behind act proved that the races are equal. After all, family values don’t stop at the Rio Grande border.

      I also condemn France for banning the burka. Don’t they know Islam is a Religion Of Peace?

      • Puggg

        “Expections.”  You wrote a post pretending to be George W. Bush, yet you misspelled a word, sort of like a malapropism.

        I can’t imagine why.



        During the Orange Revolution in The Ukraine in 2004-5, I heard Bush talk about “the situation in Ukrania.”  Can’t find video, though.

        • Oil Can Harry

          Thanks for pointing out the error, citizen.  Ah’m fixin’ ta fix mah spelling mistake.

          Don’t remember Ukrania but I do recall the time I referred to the Greek people as “Grecians”.

          Laura often teases me ’bout that one.

          • Puggg

            On the topic of NCLB, remember this one?


          • bluffcreek1967

            Good Lord, save us from anymore George Bush types! I fear Mittens isn’t going to be any better.

          • bluffcreek1967

            Romney is basically Bush 41.  The main differences between Bush 41 and Bush 43 is that 41 was invade the world only a little bit but invite the whole world, while 43 was invade the whole world and invite the whole world.  Don’t forget, 41 popularized the phrase “new world order,” in a speech to Congress on (eerily) September 11, 1991.

          • Sherman_McCoy

            No, change it back to expections.  I liked that.

  • Puggg

    In other words, we’re accepting racial differences.

    Which is a good thing.

    • jedsrael

      They will never accept the racial difference called “White privilege”.

      • frank pucillo

        White privilege is the new dodge to explain to the masses why all the black people they now work with appear to be barely competent to do the job they have.

        • jedsrael

          That’s the PEG teacher education mantra. White teachers hurt black students’ ability to learn because of White privilege.

          Whites are taught to blame themselves whenever blacks don’t live up to the promise of Diversity is our greatest strength.

          If a White argues back, they are called a racist and fired.

          It really is a perfect system for killing an entire race.

          • bluffcreek1967

            Good Lord, that’s so true but, sadly, rarely stated so plainly!

        •  and those are the good ones

  • Detroit_WASP


    Holding poor kids to a lower standard because they are “disadvantaged” is a fools bet. 

    This is a chicken and egg argument.

    Which came first, the low IQs or the low incomes ?    

    News flash.  Poor people are not dumb because they are poor. They are poor because they are dumb.   And the kids get their low IQs from their parents. 

    When is reality going to sink in?

  • “No Child Left Behind” reminds me of Procrustes….

    Ronald Regan wanted to abolish the federal department of education. George W. Bush wanted to be “the education president.” Both claimed to be Republicans. One was lying. Guess who???

  • This will now be used as “proof” that achievement gaps reflect income disparities rather than race differences in the circular logic of the left.

  • It’s called “race realism” . . .  or “racial profiling.”

    • Detroit_WASP

      You are right, this is racial profiling.  See illegal where it hurts them, and legal where it helps them.  I am catching on now. 

      So the headlines will soon read, “Black students meet set goals, white students lag behind”.  And if anyone points out that they are being held to two different standards,  they will be called a racist and fact job loss. 

      They may even have different grading scales.  White students have to get a 93 for and A, and blacks only have to get a 75!  I am only half joking!  That’s where this is headed. 

      • IstvanIN

         Sounds like a civil service test.

        • The__Bobster

          I thought those were outlawed 30 years ago  because the results were “racist”.

  • The__Bobster


    Philadelphia PSSA Scores Expected To Be Much Lower
    September 21, 2012 7:57 AM
    By Mike DeNardo

    PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Standardized test scores for Pennsylvania schools are being released today. And, don’t be surprised to see them drop, because of tighter controls to curb cheating.

    The state is releasing the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) scores for districts and individual schools. With questionable wrong-to-right erasure patterns raising eyebrows, the education department last year tightened the reins, not allowing Philadelphia teachers to administer the tests to their own students and requiring multiple signatures that booklets weren’t altered.

    State education secretary Ron Tomalis says some individual buildings may see their scores plummet by 15, 20 or 25 percent.

    “Based upon our investigation this past year, it was very clear that in many circumstances that there was manipulation of data.”

    • jedsrael

      More Hate Facts (“dangerous discoveries”) Are Leaking Out Over The Internet.

      GIVE OBAMA THE KILL SWITCH AND FUND HIS CIVILIAN ARMY NOW,  good Americans are all shouting.http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/1d63a148-031d-11e2-a484-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz279gBBeL1
      September 21, 2012 6:42 pmNew genetic light shed on human evolutionBy Ling Ge
      A new genetic study of a group of sub-Saharan peoples has challenged the prevailing view that modern humans emerged from one location in Africa before spreading out across the world.

      • The__Bobster


        With New Anti-Cheating Procedures, Philadelphia PSSA Test Scores Plummet
        September 21, 2012 1:32 PM
        By Mike DeNardo

        PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — With stricter controls in place to limit cheating, standardized test scores in Philadelphia are dropping sharply.

        After nine years of modest increases, Philadelphia’s performance on the state PSSA tests took a tumble last year.

        Test scores were down at every grade level in Philadelphia — overall, down nine points in math (to 49%, from 58%, scoring “advanced” or “proficient”) and seven points in reading (52% to 45%).

        State education secretary Ron Tomalis says a key statewide factor is tighter monitoring last year, to prevent teachers and administrators from manipulating the answers in test booklets.

        “This is the new level that we’re going to measure kids by. Because it’s very clear from the data that we’ve seen, that it’s been elevated –artificially elevated — for the last couple of years,” Tomalis said today.

        In Philadelphia, the results mean that 33 schools made “adequate yearly progress” last year, down from 110 schools the year before.

  • jedsrael

    “Now, in the District and many states, goals over the next five years tend to be lower for black, Hispanic and poor children than they are for white and Asian students, and in the District, they tend to be higher at schools in affluent areas than in poor neighborhoods. It’s a policy shift that strikes some parents as a form of prejudice.”

    I’M TAKING THIS NEWS VERY HARD, and it calls me to make a renewed pledge to take action.

    When I realize that my White privilege is so damaging to the schools that their testing policies are now shifting backwards to reflect just how oppressed and marginalized has become the learning capacity of my black vicitims, it makes we want to attend another Anti Racism and Diversity Sensitivity workshop so that I can “do more” to UnDo all this residual UnFair Whiteness that I’ve been unconsciouly clinging to out of bitterness and hatred.

    If only my White mother hadn’t chosen a White man to make the White baby that is me, the world wouldn’t suffer so much today.

    We uphold the White mothers of mongrel children as the real heroines of our future, especially Heidi Klum and Elin Nordegren.   These two Joan of Arcs for Social Justice now adorn the stained glass windows of the Bishop Washington’s Cathedral of Diversity. 

    “Making White babies is a hate crime against global dignity.”

    -Bishop Tyronne Cedric Ceasar Solomon Jefferson Washington, “We can’t win until Whiteness is extinct,” 2009

  • Puggg

    You seem to be embracing the concept of racial equality and demonstrating why it’s not true at the same time.  You can’t on the one hand bemoan the new race-normed achievement goals then suggest that young blacks tend to need a voc/tech pedagogy instead of a pure academic one. 

    Too, the rotten culture you bemoan didn’t come from nowhere, it’s the product of a certain group of people.  It’s almost like saying that we should put water in a place that isn’t wet.

    • Detroit_WASP

      Pugg-   “You seem to be embracing the concept of racial equality and demonstrating why it’s not true at the same time.”

      Some blacks are smarter than whites.  They are far and few between but they are there.  You also see a white guy playing in the NBA….but not much.  

      I have come to the conclusion that the 3rd world low IQ people are going to ruin the world.   Our only hope is a color blind soft eugenics program.   Pay the poor (dumb) to be fixed and encourage smart productive people to have children, regardless of color.    It’s our only hope. 

      Right now the opposite happens.  Liberals ship food to Haiti and smart people are taxed into not having children.   White celibrities  adopt 3rd world children and bring them to the US. 

      • C_C_Conrad

        I agree for the most part, but the idea – “This talk about “shipping them all back to where they came from” is just
        nonsense. The horse is already out of the barn folks and that ain’t
        happening.”  is just an expression of laziness & defeatism.  We can and must do it. 

      • Bad_Mr_Frosty

        At some point “diversity” will have to either be deported or segregated, for their own protection…

  • Up to my neck in CA

    “Meanwhile, at Wilson Senior High, 67 percent of black students—and 88 percent of Asians and 95 percent of whites—are expected to pass standardized math tests five years from now.”

    Does this mean they will stop the “race is a social construct” mantra?

    • jedsrael

      NEVER. It’ pays to well to let go of it.Race is just a social construct, except with Whites use their privilege to hurt the beloved community of color, then it is an inherited racial sin that requires life long anti racism training.

      THE UNIVERSAL MANTRA of “the Negro Question,” the Race Problem, the Race Question, Race Relations, Equal Opportunity, Social Justice, School Integration, Civil Rights, Voting Rights, Affirmative Action, Diversity Inclusion, and the Color of Change:Evil and Hateful Whites always Hurt Innocent (All) Blacks, while Good (Atoning) Whites must forever “Do More” for Sacred Black Victims. 

  • zWsA

    Wow. It seems the race-realists have scored a major victory on the education agenda.

    • Be careful here.  I’m concerned about the article’s statement “Under the new approach, low performers will be required to make larger gains each year than higher-achieving students so that the gap between student groups is cut in half by 2017.” 

      Reducing the gap is accomplished in two ways:  more emphasis on minorities and de-emphasizing the educational development of whites and Asians (this is in addition to the Bobster’s article above about Philly teachers changing the answers on tests to give blacks higher scores.)  I.e., resources that would otherwise be going to teach advanced mathematics to primarily whites and Asians will instead be devoted to reading Mother Goose stories to junior high minorities.

      Those who dislike non-Hispanic whites generally don’t have a problem with acknowleging racial differences when it results in preferential benefits for those that they prefer.  Race realists should not be tricked into celebrating this when in reality government is just saying that they will be deemphasizing the development of whites and Asians in order to spend disproportionate resources on the lesser-achieving.

      Time spent for the development of students should be the same for all students regardless of race–i.e., we should try to maximize everyone’s capabilities instead of just focusing on the lowest capable.  Some races hit the books more than others, some races concentrate more on sagging their pants just right instead of getting an education.  Neglecting the former group in order to ooh and aah the latter isn’t going to do much for our global competitiveness.

      • zWsA

        Yes Bison, thanks for the clarification. Attempting to close the gap is largely futile, but egalitarian idealism requires irrational optimism regarding the malleability of human ability. Come 2017, having failed to significantly narrow the gap, the cycle of delusional optimism will inevitably begin anew.

  • Can the smart black guy ask to be graded with the white kids?

    • The__Bobster

      Why would he? Even rich moolies apply for AA scholarships.

      • Maybe he eventually becomes a MD.  His diploma on the wall could say something like “No mine is real!”

        • The__Bobster

          One problem with affirmative action is that no one will believe him. He will be judged based on the unqualified ones who are also “doctors”. 

  • Puggg

    I think we would still have black underclasses even if we make the educational reforms you want.

    • Esmithton91:

      Amazingly, of all people, Rush Limbaugh (!) had this to say a few days ago:

      Yeah, make sure everybody’s got a shot. So what does that mean? Everybody gets a certain amount of money, same amount of money. You take it from those who have it and produced it, give it to those that don’t, same amount of money and turn ‘em loose and everybody’s gonna be cool. Is that what that means, everybody’s got a shot? What happens, Mr. President, if you do that, let’s say — pick a number — give everybody a hundred grand, just do it, for the sake of our little experiment here. What do you bet the people who didn’t have any money before you gave ‘em will be out of that money inside of six months, and the people who had that hundred grand before you took it from ‘em find a way to get it back?What do you bet, Mr. President , in our little experiment, give everybody a hundred thousand dollars, the same people who didn’t have it before you gave it to ‘em will end up not having it in a very short period of time. So what have you actually accomplished? It’s a one-time thing, right? Could we say, give everybody a hundred grand, give everybody a fair shot, and then after a year, we reassess. And what happens, Mr. President, when a lot of those people you gave a hundred grand to are back down to having nothing? Do you do it again? Do you do it every year? At what point do you realize this doesn’t work? Why would you ignore world history? This has never worked anywhere in the world.

      Sounds familiar.  My Axiom #60 is something that the elder folk, parents, relatives, a few teachers and others kept telling me over and over again as I was growing up, but it took me awhile to grok what they and it meant:

      Poor people have poor ways.  Or, to put it another way, most poor people are poor because of their bad habits.  All the money in the world won’t change their poor ways, and furthermore, their poor ways will eventually result in their being poor once again.

      Along those lines, former NFL QB Vince Young (guess the race) is already on the verge of bankruptcy, in spite of having a $26 million or so contract.  He is not even 30 years old yet, and he was drafted in 2006.  So he went from 7-figure multi millionaire to almost broke in 6.5 years.

      Source material:




  • Detroit_WASP

    I agree with a lot of what you said but they were already cooking the books.

    Black schools all over America were being caught cooking the books or face being closed under No Child Left Behind (NCLB).  I was a teacher and I used to hear a lot about that. 

    BHO realized that blacks cannot be held to the same standard as everyone else and now the rules are being changed to help the black schools appear to be doing ok, or as well as other groups.  

  • on guard

    “…exclusively African Americans from one of the District’s most impoverished areas.”
    Do you really need to read past this statement?

    • The__Bobster

      They had me after the first three words.

  • IstvanIN

    Children need parents in order to succeed, and by parents I do not mean just sperm donors and incubators.  A quote from Thomas Edison (from Wikipedia):

    In school, the young Edison’s mind often wandered, and his teacher, the Reverend Engle, was overheard calling him “addled”. This ended Edison’s three months of official schooling. Edison recalled later, “My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me; and I felt I had something to live for, someone I must not disappoint.” His mother taught him at home.

    How many blacks have real mothers?  They are the other and we need to separate.

    • E_Pluribus_Pluribus

      He started school at age seven and returned home in tears after just three months. His mother took over, reading with him. A science book was a favorite. At twelve he persuaded her to let him apply for the post of newsboy on the Port Huron-to-Detroit train (which left at 7 A.M. and returned at 9:30 P.M.) After selling fruits and produce from Port Huron in Detroit, he spent most of a six-hour layover in the Detroit Library. On the return trip he sold evening newspapers.

       Total formal classroom instruction:  three months. Productivity as an adult: 1000 patents. (notes from Edison: The Man Who Made The Future by Ronald W. Clark, 1977, pp. 9-15.) 

      Imagine young Thomas Edison’s fate had he and his mother tried that under today’s compassionate regime of child-labor sanctions and compulsory schooling. 

  • Ulick

    True Useful Idiots will still claim that these achievement differences are socio-economic.  That’s why they the Washington Post was sure to include “income” the title by “race”.  It creates the idea that blacks do worse academically because they’re poorer, and whites and Asians do better because they’re more affluent.
    Conceding that blacks are typically more poor and do worse academically because they’re typically less intelligent, and conceding that whites and Asians are typically more affluent and do better in school because they’re more intelligent is unfathomable in the devout Liberal mind.  It contradicts a tenet of their religion, Political Correctness.  It would be akin to these foaming-at-the-mouth Islamists stopping their violent lunacy and saying, “Alright, you actually have a point about The Prophet there.”  It simply won’t ever happen.

    • 5n4k33y3s

      The real discrepancy is seen between the races with written history versus the races with spoken history. My question is why do they think they should have everything we have when they don’t even have the culture to maintain it, much less attain it themselves? Their leadership is mostly a lot of moaning, complaining, beggars. They want to lean heavily on us, and then claim superiority when we’re at a disadvantage.

      But not all the savage races, nor the individuals of the savage races are like this. At least not until they learn dark arts of passive-aggressive political theatrics, feminism, and degeneracy from American blacks.

      At long last, America’s “progressive” blacks get their day in the sun, and their hypocrisy is exposed for all to see. Their claims of moral superiority as a culture and a race are due to grandiosity and monumental conceitedness.

      And while their president maintains a pleasant demeanor, politically speaking, he is an invertebrate. His core constituency doesn’t mind, because they are easily pleased by the government subsidizing their lives, unsustainably, at the expense of others.

  • JackKrak

    I think this is great news.

    Now that we acknowledge that blacks can’t keep up in the classroom, can we admit that high rates of incarceration are also an inevitable consequence of the black condition?

    Step by step…..

  • humptydumpty

    Up until the civil rights movement, there was a high school in DC named Dunbar High which was an excellent school for blacks. It was excellent because there were strictly enforced standards and its curriculum was very demeanding. The difference from then to now is those parents (from traditional households) were working people who pushed their children to do well. Now all that has been destroyed because blacks don’t work anymore and any idea of excellence has long since been pushed out of the black community.

  • JasonVinland

     Sounds like you want dog training that Charlotte Iserbyt talks about. http://newswithviews.com/iserbyt/iserbyt101.htm

  • I wonder why poor norther asians do so well in academics?  Hmmm…  Maybe we’re starting to open our eyes to the truth.  

    I won’t be surprised if Lord Obama’s Regime places some penalty or other obstacle for high achieving White and Asian students.  One way or another The Regime is determined to reach an equal outcome society, all be it on the backs of those who have the genetic ability to do so; except in sports there it’s alright to have a racial lock out.

  • E_Pluribus_Pluribus

    China will not spend fifty years — not even fifty minutes — attempting to “square the circle.”

    China at work on finding the IQ genes. And then what?SciGuy, Houston Chronicle BlogJuly 19, 2011http://tinyurl.com/3drzqcm

  • Jeff Radick

    Works for me. It’s about time somebody separated the intelligent from the not so.

  • you cannot make a silk purse out of a sows ear !

  • C_C_Conrad

     Romney is just another “Pink Rabbit.” 

  • C_C_Conrad

     No master Jim, I cannot agree.  For the reader, did you notice how many times the phrase “We need to” was used?  The truth is “we” have done all of this before, time & time again in fact.  THE ONLY thing that we need to do is to reduce the numbers of Africans in this country to ZERO as soon as possible. 

  • libertarian1234

    “Now, in the District and many states, goals over the next five years tend to be lower for black, Hispanic and poor children than they are for white and Asian students, and in the District, they tend to be higher at schools in affluent areas than in poor neighborhoods. It’s a policy shift that strikes some parents as a form of prejudice.”
    Implicit in all this mumbo jumbo is a little propaganda inculcation to fool the reader into categorizing academic accomplishment as dependent on income or financial status.
    All races as a group outperform blacks academically regardless of income.  Poor whites were revealed in one little mentioned study by academics that poor whites scored higher and did better than wealthy blacks, and these brilliant educators just couldn’t understand why.  And they were careful to avoid mnentioning that dirt opoor immigrants who come to this country after years of oppression and abuse outperform blacks…as a group…. to a great extent.
    It’s one of the mysteries of life, you see.  At least to them and the MSM.  Because they have been pursuing  a lying agenda for so long they can’t accept brazen, in-your-face facts that contradict their inaccuracies.

    And they just love to group blacks in with other “people of color” in spite of the fact that blacks are behind them as well,  with every promise of falling even further behind.

  • It was that way when I was a kid.

  • potato78

    Meanwhile, at Wilson Senior High, 67 percent of black students—and 88
    percent of Asians and 95 percent of whites—are expected to pass
    standardized math tests five years from now.


  • SarahConnor

    Ha Ha! Loved your shout out to Shitavious!

  • Sweet63

     BTW it’s “paid” not “payed.”

  • Marc B.

    I don’t see this as such a bad thing, but instead of dropping the grading requirements, they should provide a curriculum for the NAM students commensurate with their 85 IQ average and a curriculum for White and Asian students, whose IQ averages above 100.    

  • jedsrael

    We will keep using White Privilege because it reminds us constantly of exactly what they target for extinction. If they know what they are attacking, and we don’t even acknowledge that it exists, we will disappear without knowing why.