The Hard Bigotry of Great Expectations

Well… we might need to keep lowering those standards.

First the Chicago Teachers Union went on strike for more than a week because they didn’t want their evaluations (salary) tied to student performance, especially when only 8 percent of the more than 400,000 students in Chicago Public Schools are white; then came news that schools in Washington D.C. had set new achievement targets by race and income.

Now comes word the entire state of Florida has set new goals for students in math and reading based upon… race [Florida Passes Plan For Racially-Based Academic Goals, CBS Tampa, October 12, 2012]:

The Florida State Board of Education passed a plan that sets goals for students in math and reading based upon their race.

On Tuesday, the board passed a revised strategic plan that says that by 2018, it wants 90 percent of Asian students, 88 percent of white students, 81 percent of Hispanics and 74 percent of black students to be reading at or above grade level.

For math, the goals are 92 percent of Asian kids to be proficient, whites at 86 percent, Hispanics at 80 percent and blacks at 74 percent. It also measures by other groupings, such as poverty and disabilities, reported the Palm Beach Post.
The plan has infuriated many community activists in Palm Beach County and across the state.

“To expect less from one demographic and more from another is just a little off-base,” Juan Lopez, magnet coordinator at John F. Kennedy Middle School in Riviera Beach, told the Palm Beach Post.

JFK Middle has a black student population of about 88 percent.

“Our kids, although they come from different socioeconomic backgrounds, they still have the ability to learn,” Lopez said. “To dumb down the expectations for one group, that seems a little unfair.”

Others in the community agreed with Lopez’s assessment. But the Florida Department of Education said the goals recognize that not every group is starting from the same point and are meant to be ambitious but realistic.

As an example, the percentage of white students scoring at or above grade level (as measured by whether they scored a 3 or higher on the reading FCAT) was 69 percent in 2011-2012, according to the state. For black students, it was 38 percent, and for Hispanics, it was 53 percent.

In addition, State Board of Education Chairwoman Kathleen Shanahan said that setting goals for different subgroups was needed to comply with terms of a waiver that Florida and 32 other states have from some provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. These waivers were used to make the states independent from some federal regulations.

“We have set a very high goal for all students to reach in Florida,” Shanahan said.
But Palm Beach County School Board vice-chairwoman Debra Robinson isn’t buying the rationale.

“I’m somewhere between complete and utter disgust and anger and disappointment with humanity,” Robinson told the Post. She said she has been receiving complaints from upset black and Hispanic parents since the state board took its action this week.

Robinson called the state board’s actions essentially “proclaiming racism” and said she wants Palm Beach County to continue to educate every child with the same expectations, regardless of race.

The Southern Education Foundation published “A New Diverse Majority: Students of Color in the South’s Public Schools,” which showed that 54 percent of Florida’s K-12 population is non-white.
24 percent of the Florida public school K-12 population is Hispanic.

Maybe if we only counted 3/5 of white kids scores on the FCAT, then we could say that that was the bar black and Hispanic kids had to attain… perhaps that is the way to finally end the racial gap in achievement!

Well… about that No Child Left Behind Act. Can we count only 3/5ths of white kids scores?

According to The Schott Foundation for Public Education, which has tracked graduation rates of black males from public schools since 2004, 52 percent of black males who entered ninth grade in the 2006-07 school year graduated in four years.  Compared with 78 percent of white males and 58 percent of Latino males. So if you applied the 3/5 rule (allowing only 60 percent of those whites who graduate to… graduate) here, you’d have the outcome so many desire: by a few percentage points, black and Hispanics would graduate at rates higher than whites.

An April 2008 Florida Board of Education document [Growth of Minority Student Populations in Florida’s Public Schools] reported:

During the last quarter century, minority student populations have grown substantially in Florida’s public schools. Beginning with the school year 2003-04, enrollment for minority students exceeded the white student enrollment. This continued growth has been accompanied by shifts in the demographic composition of the most densely populated counties in south Florida, along with continuing growth in minority student populations in other urban areas of the state. From 1978 to 2007, the number of minority students in Florida’s public schools grew from 458,817 to 1,437,451, an increase of 213.3 percent. This compares with an increase of 75.6 percent for the overall student population (from 1,510,633 to 2,652,684) and a 15.5 percent increase for the white student population (from 1,051,816 to 1,215,233) during the same period.

Nineteen of Florida’s 67 school districts have minority enrollments of 50 percent or more (see chart below). Only nine districts have experienced a decrease in their minority enrollment since 1978. Additional information for each of the state’s school districts is provided in tables at the end of this document.

The only way to bridge the racial gap in achievement is to resurrect the 3/5 clause that so many people misconstrue as the counting of only 3/5ths of an individual black person… actually it was counting only 3/5ths of states slave population, so that the slave holding states wouldn’t have greater population numbers and thus, more representatives and power in the early days of the federal republic.

Only count 3/5ths of a white persons SAT, AP, or ACT score. Boom! Racial gap in achievement closed immediately. LSAT, GMAT, MCAT… the exact same rule applies! Same for Firefighter and police exams.

Call it the white handicap. 

Sigh… how much longer must we pretend that race is a social construct?

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