The Florida State Board of Education has adopted a strategic plan (page 11 of this document) that sets differing achievement standards for different students based upon their race for the next 10 year period.
The highest expectations are for Asians, the next highest for Whites, the next highest for Hispanics, and the lowest bar is being set for African Americans. (Ironic that these tiered-based expectations in the Florida plan mirror the average achievement-gap composition and race-placement tier in Florida. Wow, what a coincidence, right?)
Talk about lowered expectations leading to self-fulfilling prophecy!
I cannot and do not see this as anything but policymakers waving a white flag and giving up, which is weak!
But the cynical side of me sees this move by the Florida BOE as a much more nefarious vehicle, a way for Florida to get a “participation-trophy” for “trying” to comply with NCLB--like some pee-wee athletic league doles out to all “participants”—regardless of whether or not such players can even play the sport!
This is the equivalent of parents joining hands overhead and “building a tunnel” for the tykes to run through after the 5 year-old soccer game that always ends in a draw. Sad.
NCLB was flawed, yes. The goals were unachievable, yes. But the goals were noble and this law was moving us all forward. Now, via waivers, presidential proclamations, state level machinations, and executive orders, this law is being gutted and skinned like a catfish nailed to a tree. It not only upsets me—it disgusts me. I’m convinced that Ted Kennedy, liberal as he was, would be sickened by this devolution. He crafted the bipartisan NCLB along with George W. Bush.
I’m appalled by this development and I can’t think of any good reason to lower the bar in such a flagrant manner. Since this Florida plan was first made public on October 11th, a firestorm of negative stories on the issue has been forthcoming. Imagine what the Hispanic and African American communities must think of these lowered expectations??---“the soft bigotry of lowered expectations” as George Bush famously said.
I strongly believe that we need to have ONE Standard in each area of curriculu for all students to meet, and we need to help students that struggle, regardless of their race, achieve the same ONE Standard. Educational innovators know that lowering the bar is a horrible strategy that serves nobody well-maybe that’s why policymaker politicians, by and large, do not take these innovators' advice?
Lowering the bar for some races and keeping it high for others is just plain wrong, and is only being done for the sake of political expediency.
I never thought getting a waiver from the strict provisions of NCLB was a great idea, but Florida did this; now, those that have proposed these GARBAGE IDEAS about race-based achievement level targets are pointing at the Florida NCLB Waiver as the reason necessitating differing standards. What a cop-out. Do a rain dance, then blame someone else about getting wet when the sky opens up.
Florida citizens---Shake hands and make friends with this reality—Education is being dumbed down in stunning fashion right before your eyes. Students are being boxed and stereotyped, and politicians are willingly accepting this.…And we, at the local level, are making it easy for them by standing idly by, saying nothing and doing nothing in total complicit complacency.
I won’t be a part of that crowd-I know this is wrong and I’m going to say so!
To the State Board of Education—Change this badly flawed strategic plan, keep ONE Standard for ALL Students, and most importantly do not lend creedence to Bush's “soft bigotry of lowered expectations!”