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Black leaders blast NCLB waiver

Published 10:56pm Friday, August 17, 2012

A group of black state legislators with two members representing parts of Suffolk has blasted new lower goals for minorities and other groups under a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law.

A waiver granted to Virginia in July requires, for example, 45 percent of black students to have met math Standards of Learning benchmarks in 2011-2012, compared with 68 percent for whites and 82 percent for Asians. Before, goals had been the same for all students.

The new requirements are “antithetical” to a viable, strong and equalizing education system, the goals of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, Senator Mamie Locke, its chair, wrote Gov. Bob McDonnell.

“This ‘aim-low’ approach is insulting and narrow-minded in its approach to doing what is in the best interests of children,” she wrote.

“As an educator, I am appalled that the Commonwealth would put forward such a proposal that categorizes children in a way that hearkens back to Virginia’s inglorious past.”

Delegate Lionell Spruill Sr. and Sen. Louise Lucas, whose state districts include parts of Suffolk, are both caucus members.

The differentiated goals, the Virginia Department of Education says, plan to halve the performance gap of underperforming student groups, which also include Hispanics, the disabled and economically disadvantaged, and English language-learners, within six years.

Under the plan, called Annual Measurable Objectives, differentiated goals for eight subgroups would be raised in yearly increments until, by 2016-2017, the gap between students in the lowest-performing and highest-performing schools is halved.

According to the method used to calculate the starting benchmarks and yearly increases, in the 2011-2012 math Standards of Learning, blacks in the lowest-performing schools with 20 percent of that subgroup’s statewide subject enrollment scored 43 percent or lower, against 66 percent for whites and 80 percent for Asians.

“Historically we have had subgroups that haven’t performed as well as children in other subgroups,” department spokesman Charles Pyle said. “We have the goal of raising their performance and, in doing so, raising achievement in the state’s lowest-performing schools.”

Chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People have also expressed concerns over the new goals in calls to the department, Pyle said.

The department is sending a delegation to an NAACP meeting in Williamsburg to address those concerns, he said, and is keen to address what it perceives as a misunderstanding.

“Presented with this information in isolation, it’s certainly understandable that someone could look at these objectives and have concerns and ask questions,” he said.

In a letter to caucus member Sen. Donald McEachin, state Education Secretary Laura Fornash argued that “all students, regardless of demographic subgroup,” must get the same number of SOL test questions correct to pass and meet the same requirements to graduate.


    This is no different than “forcing” those who have ($$$)to give to those who don’t. We are enabling people by having everything done for them….why should we try to do better? if we don’t make the grade (pun) soomeone will GIVE us a place to live, food, $ in the way of a tax return (even though we never worked), lower the grade requirements for graduation, so on & so on.Soon, all we will have to do is just sit on our a@@ with a straw in our mouth as EVERYTHING in our world is managed for us.

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  • UVALee

    The same standards should be in place for everyone, everywhere. Affirmative Action, as one poster has already mentioned, is outdated and ineffective. This one standard for all should apply, as well, to places other than the schools. It’s a shame that some people want different standards for different groups. We’ve already changed teaching exams to accommodate those who aren’t proficient in math, and we’ve decided that the tests given to applicants for the fire and police departments contain math quetsions that are too diffiuclt for some. We aren’t doing anyone any favors by aiming low. I will admit, however, that there are some students who simply don’t want to learn. As the old adage goes, “You lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”

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  • pumpn_fe

    So black leaders are mad because their kids are being given another handout cause the kids can’t cut it? That’s like being too proud to take your disability check. There are NO issues with that in this town.

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  • whitemarshtaxpayer

    I agree with Lovebug ..Some don’t have an interest in learning and you cannot make them. I even remember 40 yrs ago when there were kids that just couldnt get it . I dont know whether they were trying or not but they just couldnt get it .. So generally speaking nothing has changed other than there are just so many more students.

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  • Lovebug

    Can’t teach those who don’t want to learn. Why should everyone else suffer for those who don’t want to learn? Its a numbers game that has to be played. Shouldn’t be that way but it is.

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  • So What

    equal opportunity..not equal results

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  • So What

    I thought the theme was to move forward not backwards. AfimativeAction has poven it doesnt work.So thses so called black leaders are saying blacks cant cut the mustard or o play on thesame playing field when it comesto educaton?

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  • MrJiggyFly

    Good intentions, terrible consequences. Until the federal gov. is removed from the equation, the states will continue to fail. Education is regional/local. Politics and the feds need to get out of the way. Let teachers teach!

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  • kfann

    I think education standards should be the same across the board… If they are not meeting those standards, then the child, parents and school officials need to do more to help those that aren’t meeting the standards… I don’t think lowering the standard is what is best for any child…

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  • MrJiggyFly

    VLBC can not “see the forest for the trees”.

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