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.
My WaPo piece with more context is online now and in today’s Richmond Times former Democratic state legislator Kris Amundson takes a look at the same issue.
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.”
One Reply to “Virginia’s New Education Policy: Together And Unequal”
“Unfortunately, rather than taking the opportunity to focus more on underserved students…” Actually, Andrew, it looks to me like that’s what VA is trying to do. Their plan is not the most artful and can easily be tainted with accusations of racism but it seems a desperate move by a state school authority backed into a corner.
I think most of us on some level of awareness and sanity knew back in the early daze of NCLB there was no way we were going to meet the 2014 target date for full compliance. Now maybe we could have met the target had we as a nation, combined the Apollo Program of unlimited funds with the War on Poverty’s emphasis on low socioeconomic conditions and JFK’s vision.
But sadly, we suffered budget cutbacks, the ranks of the poor actually increased, and we had W for a leader. And then there were charter schools clamoring for attention and dollars plus the distractions of new technologies and numerous, dubious educational theories that never were going to change anything anyway. All along the way, the politicians and other hacks continued to snipe at each other and ratchet up divisive rhetoric and school/teacher/union bashing to score points with the rubes back home.
It’s a wonder we’ve done as well as we have.