Florida

Putting Education Reform To The Test

Gov. Scott Wants to Change Race-Based Achievement Plan … But Won’t Say How

woodleywonderworks / FLICKR

Should students have different academic expectations based on race?

Gov. Rick Scott wants the State Board of Education to make changes in its plan to set passing scores based on a student’s race.

But he isn’t saying what the Board should do to alter the plan.

The governor says every child should be performing on grade level in subjects like math and reading.

“I learn differently than other people learn,” he said. “But I do know that all children can learn, and we should have high standards for everybody.”

The Board of Education’s five year plan sets higher passing scores for Asian and white students, but also sets higher benchmarks for improvement among black and Hispanic students.

Scott wrote a letter to the Board, saying their strategy doesn’t do enough to close the achievement gap.

“I believe their plan should be 100% focused on making sure that every child in this state is proficient in the areas that we care about to make sure that child is prepared either to go to college or for a career.”

Scott was repeatedly asked by reporters what part of the plan should be changed.

He wouldn’t give specifics.

But he told the Board the new standards should clearly acknowledge that all students are capable of performing at grade level regardless of their race or background.

Supporters of the current plan say that even though is does set lower goals for blacks, Hispanics and other groups than for white or Asian students, its also asks for more improvement from those same black and Hispanic students than their higher-performing classmates.

Read our explanation about the race-based achievement goals, and what’s being overlooked here.

Comments

  • Rita S

    Why doesn’t FL lead the way and reject the pursuit of NCLB waivers and call it a day. That would change the fact that we are driven by race-based achievement goals and it might also change this obsessive focus and over-reliance on standardized tests.

    Realistically and ideally, we should strive to eliminate “achievement gaps” not to improve them.

    Florida should tell the Dept of Ed to keep their race-based template — which leads to labeling and stigmatizing children. That’s inexcusable and unnecessary.

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