TALLAHASSE – Last week Florida’s State Board of Education a new five-year strategic plan that envisions minority students narrowing but not fully closing their achievement gap with white students.
The strategic plan sets a goal for Black students to increase their at-grade or above reading scores from 38 to 74 percent in the 2017-18 school year. Black students’ goal for math would be to increase from 40 to 74 percent.
The goal for Hispanics is to go from 53 to 81 percent in reading and from 55 to 80 percent in math.
White students, though, also are expected to go up from 69 to 88 percent in reading and from 68 to 86 percent in math.
Board member John Padget questioned why the achievement goals for all children, regardless of racial or ethnic background, shouldn’t be the same.
Board member Roberto “Bobby” Martinez said that would be “a heck of a statement” but noted that Black and Hispanic children “are starting at a different place.”
“We have to be realistic,” added board member Kathleen Shanahan.
The panel, though, agreed to add a footnote explaining the goal is based on cutting by half the percentage of non-proficient students each year. That satisfied Padget.
By BILL KACZOR