FILED IN: Education

Florida enacts education goals based on race

Florida Department of Education devises plan that accounts for race in assessing performance. Photo via Terri Heisele.

The Florida Department of Education is under intense criticism after they passed a plan last Tuesday establishing different academic goals based on one’s color of skin.

The plan calls for goal setting based on race. The plan measures reading goals by demographics. The plan strives for a reading comprehension meeting or exceeding grade level in expectations which are broken down by the following ethnicity — 90% for Asian students, 88% for white students, 81% for Hispanic students and 74% for black students. The plan also accounts for poverty and special needs.

The plan has caused a firestorm among activists and community members who feel the plan is archaic and racist.

Juan Lopez, magnet coordinator at John F. Kenney Middle School in Riveria Beach told the Palm Beach Post:

“To expect less from one demographic and more from another is just a little off-base. To dumb down the expectations for one group, that seems a little unfair.”

The Florida Department of Education denies allegations of racism, saying the new goals are in sharp contrast with racism, allowing each demographic group to be rated by fair measurements . In the 2011 – 2012 school year, 69% of white students scored at or above grade level for reading whereas Hispanics scored 53% and black students scored 38%. The Florida Department of Educations says that not all students start from the same place so it’s unfair to expect them to perform like all of their peers when they come from different environments and experience different challenges.

Palm Beach County School Board vice-chairwoman Debra Robinson rejects the state board’s explanation however, saying that she’s received numerous calls from outraged parents who are deeply troubled and offended by the new plan.