A majority of states set different benchmarks by race
October 17th, 2012
12:54 PM ET

A majority of states set different benchmarks by race

By John Martin and Nick Valencia, CNN

(CNN) - Civil rights groups and some parents are concerned that new proficiency targets in several states are selling African-American students short.

A majority of U.S. states and the District of Columbia have set up different benchmarks for different groups, including racial and ethnic student populations.

Florida is the latest state to establish race-based standards. By 2018, 74% of the state’s African-American students must be proficient in math and reading. That is a lower standard than the state’s white (88%), Hispanic (81%) or Asian students (90%) are expected to reach by the same year.

On the surface, this may look like less is being expected of some kids. But there’s an explanation that’s rooted in how we assess student performance under No Child Left Behind.

The goal of NCLB was to bring all children to the same level of learning. Under NCLB, all students are supposed to be reading at grade level and proficient in math by 2014. To do that, student performance on standardized tests was reported by “subgroups” to determine which kids were being “left behind.” Naturally, none of the subgroups performed at 100% proficiency, but some performed better than others.

When states realized that they could not reach this goal in time, they sought waivers from NCLB. To date, 33 states and D.C. have received waivers from the Obama administration that allowed for new targets as long as the states adopted other requirements mandated by the U.S. Department of Education.

While the original NCLB law required states to track various groups, including African-Americans and Hispanics, all groups had the same goal. According to an Education Week analysis of NCLB waivers, 26 states and D.C. now have different goals for different groups.

But the new benchmarks have been met with outrage from parents and civil rights groups, particularly in Florida, Virginia and D.C.

American Civil Liberties Union spokesman Dennis Parker says that having different benchmarks for different groups sends the wrong message. “If the kids aren’t getting the resources to address the standards, you should address that, but to lower standards really sends a bad message to children of all ages…. This feels like resignation to me, saying we only expect so much for a certain kids’ race or ethnicity,” Parker told CNN.

Pam Stewart, Florida Department of Education’s commissioner, says the state’s new goals do address the achievement gap between black students and other groups through realistic goals.

“In order for us to get to our goal, and a goal of getting all students to a proficient level, it is very important for us to look at where our students are. We have very ambitious goals overall. If only our critics would look at how far we are looking at moving subgroups in that particular indicator,” Stewart told CNN.

To get to 74% proficiency by 2018, Florida’s African-American students almost need to double their current proficiency rate, which now stands at 38%. The state’s white student population as a whole must increase its proficiency rate by 19% over five years. If Florida reaches its goals, the achievement gap between blacks and whites would shrink from 31 percentage points down to 14 in five years.

Florida’s education officials say they want the gaps between racial and ethnic groups eliminated by 2023.

It’s important to note that individual students, regardless of race, will have to reach the same scores to pass state proficiency exams. The race-based targets only apply to the percentage of students within a group that must reach a target. Additionally, in those states that received permission to use raced-based targets, groups composed of students with disabilities and English language learners will also have different target scores.

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Filed under: NCLB • Policy • Testing
soundoff (84 Responses)
  1. reading4ever

    Response to the editor
    Re “A Majority of states set different benchmarks by race,” Commentary, October 17: John Martin and Nick Valencia argue that “a majority of U.S. states have set different bench marks for different groups, including racial and ethnic student populations.” I disagree. Student should not be discriminated based on their race. Just because students come from different background does not mean that they are unable to learn as well as acquire the same test scores as other students. Student such as Hispanics and African American are being marginalized and but under the stereotype that they are not capable of succeeding. Lowering the standard may cause certain groups of students to feel inferior to those of dominant race. These particular students may feel a sense of disillusion and dismay for the reason that they are being disparaged and ridiculed in front of their peers, by the standers lowered.
    Martin and Valencia go as far as to state that states and districts are merely doing this to “assess student performance under No Children Left Behind.” People may feel like they are doing this in the best interest of the student but what they neglect to realize is that lowering the standards may hinder the students’ ability to attain a higher education. They need to realize that students are far more competent than others presume.
    Anyone who has gone to school knows that each student, regardless of race and ethnicity are capable of learning. Race and ethnicity are not a factor that one should consider in a student’s education but rather the amount of effort and determination the student has toward their education.

    October 29, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
  2. Wei Qi

    This is not about test scores or which race is smarter – it's about money! The government rewards school districts that meet the quotas that are developed by the government. If only 38% of black students in DC are proficient in math and reading (determined by the national standard) then DC funding will be cut since they didn't meet the NCLB goal of 74%. Then DC and other states cry "foul" and ask for a waiver that will keep funding flowing. But this is never going to work; it is merely a stop-gap measure at best. The issue is not whether an African-American student is as smart or smarter than a Hispanic, Caucasian or Asian student; they are. The question is, why don't they care about an education?

    October 24, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  3. Caiha

    Being half asian and half irish, I should be judged by my ability to do calculus while drunk. /nod

    October 24, 2012 at 4:28 am |
  4. blade1975

    So we stick 10 percent of black kids at the standard of 70 percent to what?

    Make the dumb look smarter? Say their lack of education is ok, cause the Asian kids are smarter and black kids are dumb?

    Really? Now that is racist.... and yes your racist ofor proping up stupid people cause their skin is a certain color.

    October 23, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  5. justmom12

    Question: how do you put in the standard for mixed race children ?... Lets say half african -american and half hispanic .... make an average or decide which one is the lowest and go with it ?...
    there is a reason why there are rewards for hard work – that is to encourage others to follow suit..... making distinction , reserving seats are easy way around because it is much much more difficult to ensure that there is enough resources at the grassroots level that make these children attain the required level. Instead of spending money./resouces doing that what do we do.. we lower standard because that way we can say .. oh !..But we achieved the required readng level percentage or math proficiency ... without actually helping the kid... can you imagine what is going to happen to these kids once they hit higher education – they are going to start dropping off there ....

    October 22, 2012 at 9:12 am |
  6. Derrick

    At a first glance what the government is doing seems wrong, but you also have to understand what they are trying to accomplish. They want to raise the national proficiency percentage and if you set individual goals for races it allows you to zone in and help those at a lower proficiency because now teachers know where these students are in terms of academic achievement.

    October 21, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
  7. Mackenzie

    It should all be the same test, the same bench mark and everything, gender or skin color shoulndt change anything. It doesnt have to do with how smart they are at all.

    October 21, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
  8. Jason

    This is wrong. All children should be taking the same test.Given the same benchmark to reach.This is tne only fair way to do it.Learn or fail in life.

    October 20, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  9. White Latino

    According to the Pew Hispanic survey, 36% of Latinos identify their race as white. Remember, Hispanic/Latino is an ethnicity, not a race.

    October 19, 2012 at 8:12 am |
  10. Marie

    If we are ever going to be equals the government is going to have to stop catagorizing everyone by race. You should never be asked to fill out a piece of paper asking you what race you are. If you point out the differences in people it will never allow you to see them as the same. Standards should never be lowered and everyone should be expected to meet the same benchmark. This is plain and simple a manipulation of test scores to allow a loophole to beat NCLB. If that's the way they are going to do things it serves no purpose and is pointless.

    October 18, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  11. Kirk

    Sorry to sound racist but even under identical conditions there would stilll be differences, maybe not as severe, but ive been locked up enough to watch and see who has what going on upstairs, and its not pretty, alot of white trash, thatbcan compete with any race for stupidity

    October 18, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  12. akbar

    wow! its insane that i am forced to read some of this racist b.s. comming from some of you. the sad thing is the people think they're being unbiased and objective!!!!

    October 18, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
  13. Spanglish

    I am an Hispanic and I feel upset to benchmarks by race ,they are suppose to be EQUAL to everyone,it is discrimination andt,prejudice .It is an insult to anyone period

    October 18, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
  14. Roger

    Unfortunately race is being used for the lack of a better measuring tool. However, its not race, it's the society and culture which affects our thinking and what is our expectation of ourselves. While the highest is expected from Asians, go to Vancouver and you'll see gangs of Indian origin people – here in US we think of all Indian as smart, doctors, engineers, professors or scientists! It's not race. Given equal upbringing, situation, society, culture, expectation etc. on average all humans are capable of performing to same high level no matter what their race is.

    October 18, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • momoisdabest

      Exactly! In America Indians are always thought of as model minority, as engineers, doctors etc because of selection bias in the way Indians are let into America. Mostly only the top Indians in terms of academia are allowed visas and so on. So these top people go on to have kids and their kids are generally hardworking and smart too because of a culture that emphasizes education and has the means to pay for it.

      Check out these same South Asians in Canada, the UK, Australia and so on and you will see a more representative population of them from cab drivers to janitors. Perhaps like in New York

      October 18, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • rzack

      Sorry people facts are facts. Americans are so ethonocentric they don't relize that these figures match up with all intelligence test on all continents over the last hundered years. O f course many disregard these results. They are important to the military u will not get in if you r under 92 which is far above the average of certian groups.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:22 am |
  15. briel

    Disgusting that we still measure race at all.

    October 18, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • TheRealWorld

      You can't believe it, Why? Everything about this country is based on race. Civil Rights was a good idea, but just like anything the Government sticks it's nose in is distroyed. Apply for a job one of the top five questions is Race? Why, because of AA so you can get a job or place ahead of someone due to your race and not your achievments, but here is the kick, if you over achieve or excell, students are penilized for being better. Example is sports, kids that perform well are told no you can't play the entire game or you're only allowed to score two TD's. There are no winners or losers in todays society everyone has to be equal. Another thing is we are divided due by race also which is now the new shadow word is diversity, but really a new word for segreration. My Point, we aren't Americans, no we are African Americans, Latino Americans, Asian Americans, and Native Americans which is what, broken down by races. Please this country is so screwed up with it's race that took an idea of civil rights and perverted it into a monster to make money, get elected, and separted the country to pass their agenda by government official, and people fall for it hook, line, and sinker.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:52 am |
  16. Yoisha

    I know lots of dumb Jews.

    October 18, 2012 at 5:36 am |
    • Pascals Wager

      Righto big boy.

      October 18, 2012 at 7:30 am |
  17. Steffi

    No matter what is measured,tried, strived for,etc., we are dealing with GENETICS here.That's the reality.There are very bright and gifted African Americans around, but it's the least intelligent and lowest achievers among the African American population that have the most babies,and this has been going on a long time. IQ,like height, is largely hereditary. It can be enhanced somewhat,but only to a limited degree. This notion that we're all born with equal mental potential is silly.Have you ever met a dumb Jew?

    October 18, 2012 at 3:50 am |
    • Tim

      Yes I have met a dumb Jew.

      October 18, 2012 at 5:00 am |
      • inflorida

        lots of them

        October 18, 2012 at 5:55 am |
    • 3rdEyeOpened

      Just by reading your post, I can tell exactly which gene pool you come from. And it definitely isn't an intellectual or wise one. BTW, I know plenty of dumb, ignorant, lazy no education/job having Jews. So living in a fantasy world of stereotypes won't get pseudo minds like yours brownie points anytime soon.

      October 18, 2012 at 5:17 am |
      • Jemtx78

        You are living in a sugar coated world. Steffi is dead on with her post. You can't make a duck moo.

        October 22, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • That guy

      I won't argue against the theory that undereducated and underachieving people have more children, but do you honestly think this is a uniquely African American trait? There are plenty of stupid white women with more kids than they know what to do with. In any case, I believe it is true that black students have a lower success rate when it comes to education, but I'm pretty sure this is a cultural thing, not a genetic predisposition to stupidity.

      October 18, 2012 at 5:46 am |
      • Carmen Waddell

        You are right race have nothing to do with intelligence. What about the student that lives with alcoholic parents or drug addicts who offers no help, or guidance to the children, do not provide clean close or even serve them a square meal. You see this kids, going to school badly groomed to not fault of themselves. How can they learn, do home work etc. No, race have nothing to do with it. Budget is not allocated for School Social Workers that used to go and investigate the home situation of the student.

        October 23, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Rob

      Think we just did

      October 18, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • MarkinFL

      What a load of cr@p.
      The discrepancy comes mainly from socio-economic issues, which cannot be corrected by the schools alone. To fix the problem you have to fix the home.
      These students are not equally equipped for school. Expecting equal results from all students is ludicrous unless they all have the same level of support in AND out of school.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:32 am |
      • Zebula

        This is a chicken-egg argument. Which came first – low socioeconomic status or low intelligence/ability? That's the real question.

        October 18, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Marie

      Wow, I really hope you work at McDonald's and not in education.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Derrick

      I.Q. is actually only 50% hereditary meaning what you knowledge you have is fifty percent from your parents and fifty percent what you take from you environment. So, lets say you do receive a low I.Q from your parents that still leaves roughly another 50% to change your life. Your parents being "dumb" is a lame excuse. If you want the knowledge go out and get it because it is accessible.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  18. connie

    " “If the kids aren’t getting the resources to address the standards, you should address that". I agree with that, but are you perhaps too narrow in your scope as to the factors?

    October 18, 2012 at 12:15 am |
  19. scott

    I have seen over the years sence I graduated from school that there has been a sharp decline in the education system.
    This has been brought about by a combination of things, number one being standardised testing, two Teachers becoming lasy, three School systems mandating curriculim. When we allowed educators to teach the subjects they loved in a manner that promoted critical thinking it drove students to excell. But with the advent of the standardised test, and manditory curriculims teachers have become less educators and more atomotons that are just going threw the motions so that the states can show how well they are doing by giving a high percentage of "passing students" who are mostly ill prepaired for success in the real world. But are prepaired to do just what they are told and not ask questions or to make things better and this is why America is realy going down the drain.

    P.S. Before you go after my spelling and gramar I will be the first to admit that English was my worst subject in school.

    October 18, 2012 at 12:00 am |
    • Steffi

      You're so right about your poor English. You shouldn't be criticizing anything regarding education since you didn't even care to learn .

      October 18, 2012 at 3:26 am |
      • Jim

        And considering your displayed intellect, you should probably continue with resigning to just throwing cheap shots at people with legitimate opinions.

        October 18, 2012 at 8:03 am |
      • Zebula

        Jim, perhaps you gathered that the opinion stated is that school/education have declined in recent years. Judging by the poster's grammar, that is false.

        October 18, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
      • scott

        your right that was the class that i just ignored but care to try me with math, science, or history. Those where the classes I enjoyed.

        October 18, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
      • Stevenanthony20

        Yes, their spelling has faults but the thought was cogent.

        October 18, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
  20. Derrick, Atlanta

    Instead of drawing interracial boundaries and saying "How do Black students generally compare to Asian or White students", wouldn't it be more constructive (and less controversial) to draw intraracial boundaries and figure out why some Black students achieve higher than other Black students? Clearly, the've already decided that since the rate of proficiency is somehow racially correlated, then perhaps the solution must also be racially correlated. I would suggest figuring out what is this social virus that causes this correlation in the first place. Ultimately, engineering the education system to get the level of proficiency of Black students equal to the level of proficiency of other types of students is akin to curing the symptom... as we often do without good results.

    October 17, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
  21. James70094

    "Florida is the latest state to establish race-based standards. By 2018, 74% of the state’s African-American students must be proficient in math and reading. That is a lower standard than the state’s white (88%), Hispanic (81%) or Asian students (90%) are expected to reach by the same year. "

    The goal should be 100% for all. I don't care if it is no realistic and they fall short, the goal should be set high, not low.

    October 17, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • MCR

      The problem is statistical. If we want to compare how schools in one area are doing to those in another area, and we know that most variation can be accounted for by race, we need to compare with an adjustment for that known variable. This says nothing about WHY different races are performing differently; that's a whole different subject. But to say that a school is 'failing' when the populations it is trying to help are facing additional challenges is to unfairly label both teachers and students failures. If we want to know what works, we have to compare success of a program against another program, accounting for whether or not the student populations are similar. Race is just a simple proxy for these sociological differences.

      October 18, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  22. Alert1

    The Civil Rights Acts in the 60s were designed to help the elderly in the USA to live a quiet and peaceful life with food and housing, when the blacks caught wind of this CRA it was all about "Equal Rights" forging a demand for free food, housing, minimum wages, and yes the "right to education" among other things like "desegregation" and so on...the minorities were see as an investment in the United States, a promise by some that the blacks and other minorities may rise above the poverty lines and the suppression standards by the ways in which they existed. As time goes on, under the desegregation rules, civil rights acts, and other rights, our schools have taken a beating and have indeed become a burden upon society..."because we have nothing in return but an enormous debt"... from a society that has refuse to contribute to the society 100%, and has refused to become anything but a burdensome cluster of drugs dealing, thief and murder of citizens (look at Chicago,L.A., Boston, Miami) its out of control because we failed at enforcing our standards in a bases of individual efforts and contributions in our education systems.
    Someone has to say this, and not to be called "bigot"(a word used for defending their failures), because you are the losers who made all this happen, you know who you are, I am an individual that has lived in the times of these factual revelations. Time are changing and the old mind set of allowing our education systems to disintegrate have changed.
    dis·in·te·grate/disˈintəˌgrāt/
    Verb:
    Break up into parts, typically as the result of impact or decay.
    (of a society, family, or other social group) Weaken or break apart.
    We are not going to put up with this type decay in our society any longer. If you are going to sell yourself out by breaking [your] integrity or the integrity of our system get out and go live in a third world country. For all you that have lived through this and have grown accustom to the gifts of this Government and society your opportunities are going away fast, you won we are broke and have no more to give. You don't have the right to destroy our Country and this goes to all White Black, Asian, African, Spanish, South American and alike. Being an American is taking Pride in what you accomplish in your education and life's teachings. Abuse of this system has reached the limits. Don't scale back, eliminate the cancer. Segregate. please lets hear from you on this matter.

    October 17, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • Marie

      For a person that has lived through all of this, you should be the first person to notice the injustices American's of all races have been dealt by the government. Segregation is not the solution. Not identifying our citizens by there race is. I do not feel as if catagorizing American's by there race is desegregation at all. It's the exact opposite. In order to level the playing field for all everyone should be treated the same by our government. The truth is segregation hasn't gone away.
      In some instances it favors certain races and in others (the most important instances such as education) it causes the cultural problems you mention.

      October 18, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  23. What are we thinking??????

    I think that yes, we are lowering our standards. As a nation full of different cultures and ethnicity's we should look behind the problems that come with the student. Some of you may say well it's the parents for hovering, or it's the teachers and maybe it's the students. See when we are lowering our standards for these other students just because of their race, we are saying that we don't believe in them. And that we don't believe that they can be just as smart as a kid from a different ethnicity. What I see is that if we lower the standard, if we compromise, does that mean that if they are not able to achieve this goal do we lower the standards even more?? Do we compromise America's future by making these kids believe that they are taking the same tests, and later you are stuck with a surgeon that is half as smart as a different colored surgeon. I don't think this is right, especially when we have lost american lives for racism to end. And yes I do believe this is racism. A child is a child, with a brain capable of being as smart as any other, the color of their skin does not affect that.

    October 17, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
  24. KBR

    Since the U.S. Census bureau toll free number did not have a definition for how to determine what "race" anyone is, how one could even set benchmarks by "race"?

    October 17, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
  25. Dave D

    Another thing about spending. You know what you can learn from a beat up 30 year old Algebra book? Algebra. You don't need computers. Poor kids can out-perform a lot of the lazy middle class white kids. I work with guys who grew up in Vietnam, Pakistan, and China. How much per pupil spending did they receive?

    October 17, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • Pascals Wager

      Only middle class white kids are lazy?

      October 18, 2012 at 7:32 am |
    • Kel

      The issue is not an old algebra book vs. new algebra book when talking about socio-economic. It's about the lack of education in the home and lack of medical care given to these poor children from prenatal age onward. Studies have shown that there is less exposure to books for poor children and their preschool environments are severely lacking in quality (appropriate educational activities, actual conversations with children). These are often the kids whose parents aren't exactly having intelligent, meaningful conversations with their toddlers (yes, that is possible) and who don't even eat in the same room as them. This is spoken from an experienced teacher – not a load of guesses and assumptions. Technology, computers, none of that is essential to learning but there are other parts to a quality environment that the homes of poor simply aren't providing.

      October 25, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  26. Dave D

    People say there is no opportunity in the US. I do not understand this. The bargain is this: All you have to do is show up for school, and DO THE ASSIGNMENTS and you will be able to pass the test, and you will do OK in life. We blame teachers, but I think it is really the parents and kids who are not doing their part. If a student does do what is assigned, spends 12 years doing the right thing, only to find out they are way behind, then that is a true crime. Lowering standards seems like a move in that direction.

    October 17, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
  27. Marco

    I teach in Florida. This year we were told they would not buy books for students. Good luck reaching any goal.

    October 17, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
  28. Name*Realistically

    Honestly raising or lowering the standard doesn't matter if the parents, and school administration don't get on the same page. As a black parent who works in the education industry I have personally seen that todays parents of the black race are so focused on complaining about how unfair they feel their children are being treated, or how they dont have the proper resources to educated their children, that they totally forget to look at themselves as part of the blame. The reason why we are underachieving as a race and a country is because no one is willing to step up, and take responsibility for their current, and future courses of action. Even if resources are limited we need to stop playing the victim and step up. There are plenty of examples of blacks and other races that break through the status quo and shame the statistics. Its just uo to us to decide whether or not we'd like to stay part of the generalized group, or if we want something better for ourselves. This is just my own personal opinion. I`m so tired of being embarassed by my own people who seem to not care about their own ignorance. We shame our forefathers that fought and died for us to have better. Didnt mean to go off on a tangent.

    October 17, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • TAB5905

      I have total respect for what you have said. There are many groups (don't care about what race) that need to understand that we as Americans need to step up and take responsibility for our own actions, lack of action, deeds and misdeeds. We as a society need to break this cycle of blaming everyone else for perceived or real failures in our lives. If a child sits in class, takes notes, studies hard and applies themselves they should reap the rewards of good grades. However if a child doesn't pay attention, doesn't take notes, doesn't study they will most often do poorly....they get what they deserve. Lowering a standard will help no one. I don't believe it will make anyone believe less is expected of them because of their race, I believe it will only encourage them not to put forth the effort to excell. I personnally do not believe the color of someones skin affects their capacity to learn. a non supportive home life, non interactive parenting absolutely will affect study habits. Parents (of all races) be a parent and take responsibility for your kids and push them to achieve their utmost potential in education. Not all kids will be 4.0 GPA students, but don't enable the kids to accept mediocrity in their grades because of race that is just beneath our kids.

      October 18, 2012 at 11:38 am |
  29. Lejaune

    Someone simply applied Affirmative Action to the education standard so the the black and Hispanic students can graduate like white and Asian kids. This also happens in college Admission and they are happy with it.

    October 17, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • jomartin

      As I wrote in this report, for an individual student of any race taking a test that will help determine a school's status under NCLB, the pass scores are the same for all students. If you need to hit 70% to be considered proficient, then that's the mark for all students. The differentiated benchmarks are for entire groups, not individual students.

      October 18, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  30. Jay

    Seems to me that this makes sense.

    If our target is to get all students to a certain level of proficiency, it makes sense to approach the problem by grouping students together.

    If we find that some groups based on ethnicity or anything else are achieving at a rate lower than others, we set obtainable targets for them. Once those targets are achieved, we set new ones.

    Eventually, all of the groups end up on close to a level playing field.

    They're not saying one group had a different standard, they're simply mandating different percentages of those groups attain the standard in different increments.

    Its purely because they recognize that there's more work to do in some places than others.

    You can't tell one group to improve by 10% and expect the other to improve by 130% in the same time period. That wouldn't be fair either.

    October 17, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Dumbing down America...

      Fair... Is it fair to lower the standard for one group? Is it the asians or whites or mexicans fault that the blacks have not kept up a higher standard to education?

      October 17, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
      • Really?

        Your generalization is disturbing. I happen to be black and I consistently tested in the top 10% on standardized tests. So why would I be held to a lower standard? Anyway the "blacks" that I know have kept up with higher standards to education. Therefore, your presumptions are incorrect.

        October 17, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
  31. decided

    really, what other kind of result would you expect from a bunch of neophites brainwashed by their liberal unition card carrying teachers. try teaching tolerance, independant thinking, unbiased thinking. Stop making kids sign an agreement to vore for Osama.

    October 17, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  32. Ben Rivera

    Did you think race did not matter? Take out certain populations from the mix and ALL stats improve in the U.S. and I am not talking about high achievers like Asians, Indians and Jews.

    October 17, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
  33. ricksta

    Should be the same. If kids can learn the words to rap songs, they should be able to memorize the Gettysburg Address.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  34. KBW

    Government should not be in the business of daycare. Thankfully when I went to school, we learned and passed the class or failed and took it until we passed. With helicopter parents that is almost impossible because 'my little charley just didn't get the attention he deserved'. Parents care less about what their children learn than what they themselves can purchase for entertainment. Less parents in the future will be a wonderful thing in some ways and a terrible loss in others. Too bad the status quo could not think rationally about how we came to this point in evolution.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  35. Mom of 2

    For those of you crying foul, this is exactly what Affirmative Action is.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  36. wrm

    "American Civil Liberties Union spokesman Dennis Parker says that having different benchmarks for different groups sends the wrong message. "

    No kidding? Funny considering your position on college admissions.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  37. Chappy

    Well. Saddest of all is the entire curiculum has been under a process of regression for years.

    That percentage is of "proficiancy", the bare minimum it takes to get by. IT DOES NOT REPRESNT what it takes to excel. Content and real world skill are severly lackng in current public schol curiculum.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  38. Jd

    And I make a grammar error Reliance on spell check is the second step to reading and writing failure.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  39. Jd

    Expectations start at home. That's wear success or failure gets its first steps.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  40. Donna

    Whatever the highest score is, that is the benchmark. I resent the fact that they have set the benchmark for Blacks lower than any other group. Why? Black parents you better get on your job and get these kids scoring higher on these tests. This is another tool used to separate and downgrade you. An excuse to overlook your worth. Forget what they set as the benchmark and teach your child to exceed that mark. I personally told all three of my children that I would except no less than a B in any class. I figured if I could do it in school they could too. We need to set our own benchmarks and make sure they reach or exceed what they want. Don't raise your child to not care about education. Without education, you can't get anywhere in this world. Well, maybe, jail.

    October 17, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • Joanna

      Read the article. The benchmarks and standards for individual students are the same. What is different is that the school has to increase proficiency for white students by 13% and by black students by 41%. These are still increases in the number of proficient students and proficiency is set the same for all students.

      October 17, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
  41. Watertower

    Why is it that the African American community complains vociferously to force colleges and businesses to lower standards in order to meet a government imposed "black quota", and then they complain vociferously when standards ARE lowered for them?............ Honestly, you just can't win.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Ben Rivera

      Exactly! So let the chips fall where they will.. the prison system and wellfare.

      October 17, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  42. Shay Miller

    Sooooooooo... where do biracial children fit in . What race are they considered?

    October 17, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • jomartin

      That is a great question. My best guess is that it is partly up to the student and parents when they fill out registration forms – how do they identify their children/themselves – and they could be at the mercy of whatever registration form has been developed for that purpose. If two boxes are filled – what then? I'm going to ask some people who work in school systems and find out and get back to you.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
      • Joanna

        You are absolutely correct. My children are half Puerto Rican and their school was sad to see them go as they are high achieving Latino students.

        October 17, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • jomartin

      OK, did some digging. All Hispanics are regarded as Hispanic – they do get further identified as white, black or Asian, but for accountability they are lumped into Hispanic/Latino. Multiracial students, other than Hispanics, get their own category – multiracial. Students are only counted once based on their ethnicity. As I stated in my previous comment, students/parents are the most important determinant of these subgroups. School officials, according to guidelines I was directed to, are only supposed to try to determine ethnicity if the parents/students fail to do so.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
  43. raceest

    How come Asians have to go 90%. That's racist & bigoted. We should all be equal. Take it down to the least common denominator.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • IHateLies

      Except by dropping the standard to the lowest common denominator, we dumb down the future workforce. Additionally, low standards frustrate those who want to achieve or overachieve.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
      • Joanna

        Read the article. The standards were not lowered. All groups have to increase the percentage of students who are proficient. Some groups have to have smaller increases in others. This does not change anything for individual students. This allows schools to set reasonable goals. When 39% of your African American students are proficient, getting to 90% in the next 2 to 3 years is not an attainable goal without massive amounts of after hours work with tutors that will cost more money than people want to pay.

        October 17, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
      • MCR

        Joanna is correct. This is just about how to get from A-Z without declaring actual progress a failure. The end goal for all is to reach Z (as close to 100% as possible). But we need to set reasonable step by step attainable goals so that progress is seen and recognized as progress. We have whole school districts now declared "failing" when all that happened was a demographics shift, and members of different communities are actually doing as well, or better, than before. That makes no sense as a way to recognize school quality.

        October 18, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Doug Young

      But most of the groups already exceed that common denominator. These goals are based on the starting points. If you look at the amount of increase expected instead of the end result, blacks seem to be getting more attention and effort put into them than anyone else.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
      • coaster26

        This is a badly written article, I believe. The message that it wants to get across is that of the students that fall below the minimum standards (which are the same standards for one and all) there is an unusually large percentage of black students.

        AND THEN it goes on to detail the numbers. By setting a low standard to reach, once the students make that point, there will be a next higher one to reach. Baby steps. Not dumbing down. If someone told you that you had done a major part of your job training wrong, or incompletely, and had to make it all up, would you want to be forced to make it all up at once, or would it seem easier to you if there were smaller, attainable goals, along the way? Whether the end result is the same or not, smaller, more attainable goals on the way to the big goal let a person see their own progress and feel they are acomplishing something, rather than just trying and trying and being told "Nope, you haven't met the goal yet."

        I couldn't reply (threaded too deep?) so I'm adding my response inside your comment. First, I'm a reporter, I don't have a dog in this hunt, nor a message. I just reported the facts and tried my best to explain them. I don't make a judgment as to whether there are a large percentage of black students who aren't proficient. I simply report the number – for Florida, it's 38%. Florida has set a goal – this group will reach 74% by 2018, and if the state reaches its goal, that will cut the achievement gap, but not eliminate it. The state has a second goal to completely eliminate the gap by 2023. Those are facts. The old goal under NCLB was 100% of students reaching proficiency by 2018. A fact. One of the benefits of this comment system is that we can hear from you – about how these facts might affect your community, affect your lives, and what you think of them. As you did quite well in your second paragraph.
        –John Martin, CNN

        October 17, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • decided

      Darwin, let it be....

      October 17, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
      • reading4ever

        Response to the editor
        Re “A Majority of states set different benchmarks by race,” Commentary, October 17: John Martin and Nick Valencia argue that “a majority of U.S. states have set different bench marks for different groups, including racial and ethnic student populations.” I disagree. Student should not be discriminated based on their race. Just because students come from different background does not mean that they are unable to learn as well as acquire the same test scores as other students. Student such as Hispanics and African American are being marginalized and but under the stereotype that they are not capable of succeeding. Lowering the standard may cause certain groups of students to feel inferior to those of dominant race. These particular students may feel a sense of disillusion and dismay for the reason that they are being disparaged and ridiculed in front of their peers, by the standers lowered.
        Martin and Valencia go as far as to state that states and districts are merely doing this to “assess student performance under No Children Left Behind.” People may feel like they are doing this in the best interest of the student but what they neglect to realize is that lowering the standards may hinder the students’ ability to attain a higher education. They need to realize that students are far more competent than others presume.
        Anyone who has gone to school knows that each student, regardless of race and ethnicity are capable of learning. Race and ethnicity are not a factor that one should consider in a student’s education but rather the amount of effort and determination the student has toward their education.

        October 29, 2012 at 11:40 pm |