The Florida Department of Education has apparently stepped in something stinky. We’re talking about the latest education standards based on ethnicity.
According to this plan, hatched by those appointed by Governor Rick Scott, different standards will be set for children of different heritage: Asian American, Caucasian Americans, Hispanic Americans, African Americans, and Native Americans.
When it comes to reading, for example, by 2018, the Florida Department of Education wants 90 percent of Asian students “at or above” their grade level. That is a stark contrast to 88 percent expected of Caucasians, 81 percent demanded of Hispanics, and the 74 percent expected for African Americans.
In math, Florida expects Asian students have to at least reach the 92 percentile for their grade. African American students are only expected to reach the 74 percentile mark.
Despite the grand scheme of setting standards of achievement for these different ethnic groups, the state has forgotten one main point … all these children are Americans.
We have spent several generations trying to blur the lines of race. Now, suddenly Florida wants to suggest some races are just better at things than others.
Our state has put its blinders on to several different influences in the education process that have combined to make us the laughing stock.
The first mistake was the higher standards with FCAT 2.0, yet no one teaching understood what that meant.
In the wake of several low test results, the state revised its standards.
They now want to divide by ethnicity, while ignoring other factors, which influence a child’s education.
The first factor is economics.
We are not picking or singling anyone out, but when a child is facing the problem of wondering from where their next meal is coming or if the lights and water will be on when they get home, it can be difficult to learn.
Some educators have talked about being the last adult a child sees when they go home and being the first adult they see when they arrive at school.
How does this factor into the education process?
Our state leaders want to boast how important education is, but when cuts are made from our budget what’s the usual source?
It doesn’t help to add a billion to the budget when the past few administrations had cut five billion.
The concerns we have pointed out do not discriminate between Asian, Caucasian, African, Hispanic, or Native Americans - we all could see our children suffer because of items beyond our control.
When an educator saw this proposal, they noted that an Asian American could score the highest on the FCAT at their school and yet fall below the state standard because they could not achieve the percentile set by the state.
If they fall below standard they fall below standard, yet the scenario presented by that educator is completely wrong.
All children should be educated and educated the same.
For some reason the A, B, C, D, and F method we were measured by in the past doesn’t meet today’s standards.
While it might not work for the educators of today, we feel those who came up with this latest plan deserve a big fat "F".