Race-Based Student Goals Prompt Controversy in South Florida

Karen Yi, Sun Sentinel, October 11, 2012

Florida’s public school students will be judged in part by race and ethnicity, under new education benchmarks approved this week.

And that has created a firestorm in South Florida.

Opponents say setting higher goals for whites and Asians and lower goals for Latino and black groups is insulting and feeds racial stereotypes.

“All children should be held to high standards and for them to say that for African-Americans the goal is below other students is unacceptable,” said Patrick Franklin, president and CEO of the Urban League of Palm Beach County.

The State Board of Education on Tuesday approved its strategic plan that in part sets different reading and math targets for students according to their heritages.

Cheryl Etters, spokesperson for the Florida Department of Education, said the disparate numbers are not meant to lower expectations but rather set “realistic and attainable” goals.

“Of course we want every student to be successful,” Etters said. “But we do have to take into account their starting point.”

According to the plan, by 2018, the state wants 90 percent of Asian students, 88 percent of white, 81 percent of Hispanics and 74 percent of blacks to be at or above reading grade level.

The state also wants 86 percent of white students, 92 percent of Asians, 80 percent of Hispanics and 74 percent of blacks to be at or above their math grade level.

{snip}

Broward school board member Donna Korn said expectations should be equal across the board.

{snip}

She was also concerned the strategic plan could affect the state’s issuance of school grades. “We’ll start looking at race when we’re scoring our schools. That’s not appropriate.”

But state officials said the race-based goals would not factor into school grades; schools will only be evaluated for the performance of students as a whole.

Winnie Tang, president of the Asian American Federation of Florida, said the benchmarks are also hurtful to Asians.

“We still have a lot of students who are average and below average. Being [perceived as] a higher achiever really hurts a lot of students,” she said.

{snip}

While 69 percent of white students are currently at reading level, only 38 percent of black students and 53 percent of Hispanic students meet the same standard.

The goals call for a 19 percent boost in reading levels for whites by 2018 but a 36 percent spike for blacks.

“There is an achievement gap and we’re working really hard to close that,” Etters said.

{snip}

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  • Triarius

    All people should be held to higher standards within their realm of possibility. I do not get mad when a midget can’t dunk a basketball, nor to I get upset when a black doesn’t split the atom.

    Keep your expectations high, but within reach. This goes for everyone.

    • Tom_in_Miami

      Robert Browning said “Every man’s reach should exceed his grasp…” but I don’t think he meant that far.

  • Up to my neck in CA

    “There is an achievement gap and we’re working really hard to close that,” Etters said.

    I’ve been looking real hard for Big Foot Ms. Etters, I bet I spot him before you close that gap.

    • The__Bobster

      Didn’t Obongo bring her along to his last rally?

  • jedsrael

    Opponents say setting higher goals for whites and Asians and lower goals for Latino and black groups is insulting and feeds racial stereotypes.

    Opponents say stereotyping White privilege as harmful and black privilege as helpful is insulting and  feeds racial stereotypes.

  • “Of course we want every student to be successful,” Etters said. “But we do have to take into account their starting point.”

    Liberals ALWAYS harp on the past when decrying the failure of non whites.  Well fine let’s go ALL the way back.  Africans started in a resource rich African environment full of low hanging fruit and temperate weather.  Whites started in the much colder, resource poor Europe.   Now look at where we are today. 

  • Puggg

    “Of course we want every student to be successful,” Etters said.

    Successful at what?  I’ve seen or heard about high school senior course work being as simple as drawing circles around cartoon faces, memorizing multiplication tables, and spreading glitter on posterboard.  None of them will be the next great rocket scientist.

    • MerlinV

      We will always need basket weavers, cab drivers, and Wal-Mart greeters.

  • bubo

    Looks like the professional educrats are starting to see the light.  No matter how many special programs, how much time and effort, even how much cheating is done, nothing is able to bring blacks up to the abilities of more evolved races.  

    The media and blacks are all highly indignant at the thought of lower standards though.   Which I think is hilarious.   

    • Coleman91444

      Blacks are all about image not substance. As long as they can pretend to be as good as everyone else, the pretense satisfies them. Remove the pretense and they throw a fit because the truth is exposed and they can’t pretend anymore. They can’t put up a big front and that’s the source of their being indignant.
      Do blacks care if they’re graded on a curve so their D- becomes a C+? Not at all. I beez gettin a C+ on dat exam!

  • MerlinV

    Finally, someone gets the genetic-based racial differences in learning abilities? We can’t have that now! Heaven forbid truth breaks out.

  • Jay11

    Winnie Tang, president of the Asian American Federation of Florida, said the benchmarks are also hurtful to Asians.  “We still have a lot of students who are average and below average. Being [perceived as] a higher achiever really hurts a lot of students,” she said.

    —– This is what a lot of people don’t realize: there are a LOT of really average and even dull-minded Asians out there.  They have the same spread that everyone else does.    I have known and worked with quite a few Asians and can say some were as clueless as doorknobs.  Do not equate discipline for test cramming with being really intelligent and broad-minded.

    • IstvanIN

       Organized, industrious and studious but not creative.

  • Skincognito

    Let’s re-segregate already. This is silly, and certainly spits in the face of Fred Douglas, Booker T and commie DuBois by perpetuating the formerly dreaded beast of White paternalism. Bildung is and shall remain an extension of the family, let’s therefore look out for own undeniably distinct Volksgemeinschaft. Seriously, this should be a plank for all Republicans, especially in Dixie.

  • “Opponents say setting higher goals for whites and Asians and lower goals for Latino and black groups is insulting and feeds racial stereotypes.”

    No, it accepts racial realities.

  • Eagle_Eyed

    “All children should be held to high standards and for them to say that
    for African-Americans the goal is below other students is unacceptable,”
    said Patrick Franklin, president and CEO of the Urban League of Palm Beach County.”

    Of course when discussing affirmative action, we don’t argue that everyone should be held to the same standards, do we?  At this point, idiots of “Urban Leagues” argue that blacks are “historically disadvantage” and should be held to a different standard from us white privilegeds.

    You really cannot win with people who think this way.  Heads they win, tails we lose.

  • archer

    When you strive for mediocrity, prepare to settle for something less.

  • News_room1220

    Does this mean that if a child reaches their reading level, within their race, they’ll be assigned an A.  This would totally moot the significance of an A as an indicator that a child has persevered and learned the material while creating the false perception that minorities have caught up, magically. 

  • The Worlds Scapegoat

    ““All children should be held to high standards and for them to say that
    for African-Americans the goal is below other students is unacceptable,””

    More psychopathy. They want children to do what the adults fail to do. Adult blacks and Hispanics are not held to the same standards as Whites or Asians.

  • “All children should be held to high standards and for them to say that for African-Americans the goal is below other students is unacceptable”We have already accepted different standards. It’s called Affirmative Action.

  • scutum

    “Opponents say setting higher goals for whites and Asians and lower goals for Latino and black groups is insulting and feeds racial stereotypes.”

    Stereotypes do not arise out of thin air, they exist for a reason and are based on observations over time.

    • zWsA

      It’s hilarious how “stereotyping” has been condemned as socially unacceptable even though it has a very fundamental biological imperative with serious benefits.

      Let me make this easy for all the PC-challenged people out there:

      If you’re frightened when you see a cougar charging at you in the forest, you’re rational.

      If you’re frightened when you see a black man walking up to you with a gun in a dark alley, you’re stereotyping.

      The human brain constantly runs probabilistic assessments of our environment and detects relevant patterns (stereotypes) that support survival. Stereotyping is human nature and it works pretty darn well, if you ask me.

      • Michael C. Scott

        I wasn’t frightened the last time I saw a cougar.  I had my daughter and wife and my mother stay close behind me while I pelted it with fist-sized rocks while I advanced toward it, producing multiple direct hits.

        The skull is in the living room now.  They aren’t very dangerous once one decides to not be afraid anymore and lets all the bad hatred out to play.

          

  • Old Right

    One might think that this would be a good way to celebrate diversity. But no, we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

    Either allow members of some races to pass with lower scores than members of other races and complain about the system being insulting, as is the case in Florida; or hold everyone to the same set of standards and then continually whine about the “racial achievement gap,” as is the case in Minnesota.

  • This is nothing new, as hispanics and blacks have already demonstrated they cannot
    succeed while being held to the same standards as Whites. Florida is just officially recognizing it.

  • zWsA

    Though I’m a race realist, I genuinely feel compassion for all people, in general. I don’t resent any group of people. Instead, I recognize group and individual differences and sympathize with those who are genetically disadvantaged. How could I possibly hate someone for something  he has no control over: the genes with which he was born.

    Egalitarianism is based on the false premise that life is fair and, therefore, everyone has the same potential in life. Unfortunately, all the evidence indicates the opposite: that life isn’t fair and that there are very significant disparities between individuals and groups. Faced with this information, egalitarian thinking becomes a psychological defense mechanism known as denial. The truth of racial inequality is too painful, so you simply deny race altogether!

    Race denial only leads to heartbreak and despair for the countless people who inevitably fail to achieve impossible goals.

    For one particularly heart-wrenching example, take a look at the science and technology program that was developed for failing high school students in Oakland, CA. The students were bused to Google headquarters to be shown “what’s possible” if they just “study hard.” The students were encouraged to pursue careers in science and technology even though most of them will never even graduate from high school.

    I feel sorry for these poor children who are betrayed by impossible expectations handed down by liberal White egalitarian idealists who have never stepped foot in their world and will never accept them for who they are.

    Here is a video about the science and technology program in Oakland, CA:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hP03XCPYps0

    • TheAntidote

       What a poignant and thought provoking clip! Reminds me of a film I saw called “Waiting for Superman.” I wonder whatever happened to Kevin Eastman, Linda Kekelis, and Tesa Bergson-Michelson; certainly they are well paid but do they have enormous job satisfaction? Have they moved on to greater challenges and responsibilities?
             Years and years ago an old time NYC educator was asked why the minority students were not learning and advancing. His answer was, “They simply have no liking of learning.” Then the firestorm.

      It is impossible to cultivate a talent, ability or interest that does not exist.

  • chuck_2011

    its a real step forward because the system will now recognize that not all are equal. 1000 black students of mediocre intelligence could never out think a handful of talented white or asians. at least they can be channeled into useful jobs not requiring higher thinking rather than using AA to go to university when they are not up to the task.