The Florida PTA is asking the State Board of Education to reconsider a five-year plan which sets different achievement goals by race.
State officials say the race-based goals are required for Florida’s waiver from portions of the federal No Child Left Behind education law. The intent is to close the achievement gap between black and Hispanic students and, on average, higher performing white and Hispanic students.
While the recently adopted plan sets different goals by race short-term, state officials said, the long-term goal is 100 percent of students of all races performing at grade level or better.
“Florida PTA and the Board of Education share a common goal – to increase the proficiency of all students and to provide them with a quality education in preparation for college and career,” the group said in a statement. “How we move towards this goal is where we differ.”
“Florida PTA believes all students, regardless of race, geography or gender should be expected to attain the same educational goals. Given the proper tools, we believe every child can learn and be successful. By setting ethnicity-based goals, the door is open for continued discrimination.”
The Florida PTA says the state should focus on high poverty areas, putting money into early childhood education, health and nutrition program.
Gov. Rick Scott has also criticized the new race-based goals but has not said what the State Board of Education should do instead.
A coalition of parent activists has asked the federal government to review the new academic plan.