FL school board approves race-based academic plan - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

FL school board approves race-based academic plan

Students in an Upstate school classroom. (File/FOX Carolina) Students in an Upstate school classroom. (File/FOX Carolina)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Angie Howell picked up her teenage son from track practice in Greenville County on Monday. She has two teenagers in high school and said they both learn differently.

"One is a visual learner, one is an auditory learner, but guess what? They're both Caucasian," Howell said.

However, the Florida Board of Education approved a race-based academic plan last Tuesday.

"I think it's ridiculous. It needs to be based on the individual and what they can accomplish," Howell said.

The plan calls for 90 percent of Asian students to be at or above grade level in reading by the year 2018. It expects Caucasians to be at 88 percent, Hispanics at 81 percent and African-Americans at 74 percent.

"It's about background and its learning style," Tracy Gist said.

She has a son and said she encourages him to be the very best in school. She said the Florida race-based academic plan will encourage students to fail.

"It makes the ones we expect to perform at a lower ratio not try as hard," Gist said.

Dr. Paul Thomas hears these concerns throughout the country during his lectures.

"As long as we keep focusing on test data, we're going to miss what we should be doing in schools to help students," Thomas said.

He's an associate professor of education at Furman University and said Florida's system is an extension of the No Child Left Behind standards. He said that metric system doesn't work and believes the real issue is poverty.

"The No Child Left Behind Act tried to address achievement gaps which we often look at through racial lenses," Thomas said.

So, Howell hopes the only race her son relies on pushes him to the finish line of success.

Those who support the plan said the goals are set at a higher standard than before, just at a different rate for each racial group.

In South Carolina, the state uses the PASS test, which stands for Palmetto Assessment of State Standards to measure progress in the classroom.

Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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