In Sunday’s Washington Post I take a look at Virginia’s new school performance standards. Last month Virginia adopted a new set of “annual measurable objectives” for schools as part of its waiver from the No Child Left Behind Act. But instead of using the waiver to step up its game and try some new things, Virginia instead adopted unambitious and race/income/ethnicity based targets for schools. For instance, in 2017 – five years from now – schools are expected to have 78 percent of white students (and 89 percent of Asian students) passing the state’s math tests but just 59 percent of poor students and 57 percent of black students. The goals for special education students are even lower.
Update: More Amundson: “One wonders what the Virginia Department of Education had in mind when they decided it was a good idea to institutionalize lower expectations for students based on race. And one wonders what went through the minds of the folks at the U.S. Department of Education when they approved the waiver in the first place.”