Virginia Lowers Expectations for Black and Latino Students

Virginia is one of dozens states exempt from the national No Child Left Behind laws, which aims to have all American children perform at grade level by 2014. The state has therefore created educational performance goals for students that make much more sense.

It’s now setting goals for kids based on their race.

In other words, I’M SO MUCH BETTER AT MATH THAN YOU ARE #modelminorityFTW!

While passing grades will remain the same for any individual student — for example, a 60 percent score is a passing whether you’re black or white — the state has set achievement goals for students in the state differently according to whether they are Asian, Caucasian, Latino, Black, or Disabled. In other words, Virginia hopes to have a certain percentage of Asian students pass standard reading tests, while it hopes to have a lower percentage of Latino students pass reading tests.

And yes. Virginia considers being disabled akin to being a specific race. Or maybe, being a specific race is the equivalent of being disabled? Still working that one out.

Anyways, let’s look at the numbers, because I’m Asian, and I like math.

Virginia’s new goals for students to meet in math, according to race:

Asians: 82 percent

Whites: 68 percent

Latinos: 52 percent

Blacks: 45 percent

Disabled: 33 percent

Parents aren’t pleased, naturally. But the line of reasoning, according to Dr. Patricia Wright, Virginia’s superintendent of public instruction, is that Black and Latino students generally don’t perform as well as white and Asian students. So by lowering expectations, those children can “catch up,” she told NPR. Earlier this fall, Wright noted at a Board of Education meeting that “all of us hold all students to the same academic standards, but when it comes to measuring progress, we have to consider that students start at different points.”

Because systematizing racism, particularly when it comes to the learning potential and achievement of America’s youth, is the pragmatic thing to do.

You know, because when it comes to progress, you may as well be realistic about those people.

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