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Tue Nov 13, 2012, 03:09 AM

Firestorm Erupts Over Virginia's Education Goals (different goals by race and DISABILITY)

Wow, I heard this report by Claudio Sanchez on NPR's All Things Considered this afternoon. I could not believe it.

As part of Virginia's waiver to opt out of mandates set out in the No Child Left Behind law, the state has created a controversial new set of education goals that are higher for white and Asian kids than for blacks, Latinos and students with disabilities.

Virginia Democratic state Sen. Donald McEachin first read about the state's new performance goals for schoolchildren in a newspaper editorial.

"And I was shocked to find that the state board of education (was) putting in place permanent disparities between different subgroups Asians at the top, African-Americans at the bottom," says McEachin.

Here's what the Virginia state board of education actually did. It looked at students' test scores in reading and math and then proposed new passing rates. In math it set an acceptable passing rate at 82 percent for Asian students, 68 percent for whites, 52 percent for Latinos, 45 percent for blacks and 33 percent for kids with disabilities.


At least one board member responded indignantly to accusations that the new policy harkens back to the era of segregation and Jim Crow. "We're not trying to go back to Jim Crow. What does that make us, Uncle Toms?" said Winsome Sears, one of three black board members at a meeting last month.

"So why do we have these different subgroups? Because we're starting with black children where they are. We can't start them at the 82 percentile because they're not there. The Asian students are there. And so the real question is why aren't black students starting at the 82 percentile? Why? Why are they not there?" Sears said.


To borrow from GW Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson, this plan is "soft bigotry of low expectations". Also seems to be the shoddy racial hierarchy of intelligence theory that devised that book The Bell Curve.

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Reply Firestorm Erupts Over Virginia's Education Goals (different goals by race and DISABILITY) (Original post)
alp227 Nov 2012 OP
sulphurdunn Nov 2012 #1

Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 05:39 PM

1. I take exception

with a lot the VDOE does, but not this. If anything, I'm shocked they'd do anything this enlightened. The decision is not about racial discrimination. It is not about intelligence. It is certainly not about discriminatory expectations. It merely address the reality of racial and socioeconomic injustice and belies the nonsense that all kids can meet the same set of arbitrary standards for passing these fundamentally flawed and discriminatory standardized tests. For many students with disabilities a 33% pass rate is a challenge they can meet. Most cannot meet the pass rates set by test designers for kids in the 50th percentile of aptitude and above. If anyone said that giving everyone a chance to run a 12 second 100 meter dash was fair or somehow equal is as nuts as people who think all groups of kids should be held to the same standard of achievement or leave schools they were compelled to attend for 13 years without a diploma because the odds were stacked against them passing some stupid goddamn test.

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