BRADENTON, FL-- Should your child's race or social-economic status determine their performance goals at school? Now, it does. The State Department of Education changed the standards by which it measures student success, basing it on their race, and the new standards are not sitting well with some.
Students of all races share classrooms, have the same teacher, perform the same assignments, and while all of that is the same, student's performance goals will now be different. “They changed the standards on which they measure students based on race or economic background, the measure at which they're proficient,” Bob Gagnon, Manatee County Schools Assistant Superintendent.
Gagnon says while school district's across the state will be forced to comply with the state's new standards, here in Manatee County school officials plan to keep a level playing field. “It takes students in sub-groups who's proficiency rate is lower and gives them more aggressive targets to close the gaps sooner, the end result is still a different expectation for different groups of students, and again i would say, why aren't we looking at why there is a gap between these two students and address that as opposed to changing the standards.”
Under the new standards, students are placed in one of five ethnic groups, and each group is expected to show a different percentage of improvement by the 2017-2018 school year. “It creates multiple societies within one large society. You've got a society for the Asians, you've got a society for the whites, you've got a society for the Hispanics, you've got a society for the blacks, when we're all supposed to be part of one big society,” Trevor Harvey, President of the Sarasota County Chapter of the NAACP.
Harvey says the new system perpetuates low standards for certain ethnic groups, ultimately sending the wrong message to students. “That our counterparts are inferior to us, they're better than us, so their standards are going to be higher than our standards and at the end of the day, I’m still not accomplishing what i need to accomplish because these standards are low.”
Harvey says the NAACP does plan on taking action against the department of education's new learning goals at the state level.