I think standards are a good idea, although not currently implemented properly in the U.S. education system. Then, I see articles like this that let me know that my values in education are not the same as some other people.
In Virginia, they’ve passed new standards, in accordance with their new Race To The Top funding. But these new standards are based on the race of the student (i.e., Asian students have to get higher numbers to pass than white, black, or Latino students). Florida took a different tack, and only requires certain percentages of each race to pass to give the school its passing grade (again, non-Asian minority students aren’t expected to do very well, but this time as a group).
I understand why these states are changing their standards (to meet goals they now realize they can’t achieve without some significant changes), but the way they’re doing the changes and the fact that these changes are accepted by anyone flabbergasts me.
I’m finding it difficult to put my exasperation into words.
When is it ever acceptable to have different educational standards for students based on their appearance and heritage? Can mixed-race students pick which standard to adhere to? In Florida’s case, why would only a fraction of students in a particular group be expected to pass? Does this mean that teachers will encourage certain students to work harder and leave even more kids behind?
And for the bigger questions, in what way will these new standards help schools teach their students? What kinds of values and self-worth does this show our students? Why are particular groups doing better or worse in the first place, and what can we do to help those particular problems (and please know that each of these issues will be different for each child, not for each mostly-arbitrary socio-economic-and-ethnic division).