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With NCLB Waiver, Virginia Sorts Kids' Scores By Race 622

Posted by timothy
from the racism-as-practiced-by-idiots dept.
According to a story at Northwest Public Radio, the state of Virginia's board of education has decided to institute different passing scores for standardized tests, based on the racial and cultural background of the students taking the test. Apparently the state has chosen to divide its student population into broad categories of black, white, Hispanic, and Asian — which takes painting with a rather broad brush, to put it mildly. From the article (there's an audio version linked as well): "As part of Virginia's waiver to opt out of mandates set out in the No Child Left Behind law, the state has created a controversial new set of education goals that are higher for white and Asian kids than for blacks, Latinos and students with disabilities. ... Here's what the Virginia state board of education actually did. It looked at students' test scores in reading and math and then proposed new passing rates. In math it set an acceptable passing rate at 82 percent for Asian students, 68 percent for whites, 52 percent for Latinos, 45 percent for blacks and 33 percent for kids with disabilities." (If officially determined group membership determines passing scores, why stop there?) Florida passed a similar measure last month.
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With NCLB Waiver, Virginia Sorts Kids' Scores By Race

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @12:32PM (#41968685)

    14 points behind Asians?!?!? For shame, fellow whities! Have we become so awful at educating our trailer trash that we've dropped so low?!?

    I fear that unless we can find a way to tie moonshine and NASCAR to education somehow, we'll continue to remain second-class learners.

    • by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @12:50PM (#41969009) Homepage Journal

      In math? Of COURSE you can find a way to tie moonshine (chemical solution calculus and analysis) and NASCAR (fuel consumption, speed, time and distance, centripetal force on a curve) to mathematics and science!

      • by Tsingi (870990) <graham.rick@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @01:09PM (#41969345)
        Quick.
        How many grams in an ounce?
        • by pwizard2 (920421) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @01:41PM (#41969953)
          I just wish we could go metric, like the rest of the fucking world. But no, the USA just has to be different with an antiquated system of measurement that no one else uses.
          • by dywolf (2673597)

            To what purpose? Doing it just to do it serves none. Like saying frm now all Ducks shall be called Nozzes! New label, same concept, no net change.

            Not when the entire populace already knows how to think in one and not the other. Ever had to retrain an enitire corporation after a fundamental software package switchover? That would be a walk in teh park compared to this. Being able to think in a system of measurements is such a low level function of the brain its nearly impossible to completely retrain it to f

            • "Not when the entire populace already knows how to think in one and not the other."

              I think you nailed the problem. We're failures at math. If you can count to ten, you can master the SI system, but far to many Americans are incapable of counting or multiplying by ten.

              So, I'll admit, I know what a pound is. I can estimate a pound, ten pounds, fifty pounds, pretty closely just by hefting it. Kilos? I'm a little lost. I've never picked up weights measured in kilos. But, that wouldn't stop me for long -

            • by Zalbik (308903)

              To what purpose? Doing it just to do it serves none. Like saying frm now all Ducks shall be called Nozzes! New label, same concept, no net change.

              Not when the entire populace already knows how to think in one and not the other. Ever had to retrain an enitire corporation after a fundamental software package switchover? That would be a walk in teh park compared to this. Being able to think in a system of measurements is such a low level function of the brain its nearly impossible to completely retrain it to f

            • To what purpose? Doing it just to do it serves none. Like saying frm now all Ducks shall be called Nozzes! New label, same concept, no net change.

              Not when the entire populace already knows how to think in one and not the other. Ever had to retrain an enitire corporation after a fundamental software package switchover? That would be a walk in teh park compared to this. Being able to think in a system of measurements is such a low level function of the brain its nearly impossible to completely retrain it to fluency levels in the new one. And the use of language related words is intentional because it's nearly at that level of brain function.

              And most people who want this arbitrary change over fail to consider that. Just like they fail to consider that metric (or more accurately SI) has its own idiosyncracies. they ignore situations where its not as useful and that its not all easy conversions of 10. And ignore that our system of units has its own situations where its naturally superior or advantageous to use it over metric. (hydrology is a good example; several conversions reduce to 1.0x)

              and with the massive amount of computing power located in your pocket right now, you really shouldnt fear any system of units. It's just math, and conversion is not particularly hard anyway...unless youre a disabled black kid in Virginia of course.

              The Canadians did it without too much trouble. The British did it with their money. Why the hell can't we do it?

          • by theArtificial (613980) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @05:24PM (#41973609)

            I just wish we could go metric, like the rest of the fucking world.

            Nothing is stopping you from that, what is a significant issue is all the signs that are out there, the cost to replace those isn't trivial. The military uses it and most science is done in it [wikipedia.org]. The reason for TV shows (News included) using imperial units is because the point of the show is to get the message across to their audience and what better way to do that in terms people are familiar with. Interesting flights use feet for altitude.

            But no, the USA just has to be different with an antiquated system of measurement that no one else uses.

            UK still hasn't fully converted over. Each system has their merits, one that I see commonly used to push metric temperatures is "Hey Americans, what temperature does water freeze at? It's easy, 0!" while glossing over what salt water freezes at. The history of how these systems came about is really interesting. Using 10 makes for easy conversions, it's true, 12 also has more divisors which comes in handy especially in construction. Beyond that most imperial units involve halving things, which is natural to do when you only have one of something.

            • by tehcyder (746570)

              Each system has their merits, one that I see commonly used to push metric temperatures is "Hey Americans, what temperature does water freeze at? It's easy, 0!" while glossing over what salt water freezes at.

              That is a rubbish counter-argument, since the temperature sea water freezes at is variable according to its salt content.

              It's a bit like saying that, because water boils at a lower temperature at the top of a tall mountain, there's no advantage in having the normal boiling point at 100 degrees celsius.

          • by jc42 (318812) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @10:21PM (#41976645) Homepage Journal

            I just wish we could go metric, like the rest of the fucking world.

            Back in the 1980s, there was a fun NPR (National Public Radio) article on the non-celebration of the 100th anniversary of the US "going metric". As part of the article, they explained what this really meant.

            Actually, there have been two major historic changes in US law that could be called "going metric". The first was in the 1840s, when Congress passed a law saying in effect that no contract could be declared in breach if either party used metric measurements. This effectively made the metric system legal for all commercial and legal purposes. It didn't require the use of metric units, but then, very few countries have ever done that. What typically happens is that the government declares the metric system legal, and most businesses switch to it for convenience in dealing with the rest of the world. In the US, this didn't happen, mostly because the US has long been a relatively isolated "market", with only a few percent of its trade with foreign businesses. So until most suppliers used metric units, it wasn't in a business's interest to do so.

            The change in the 1880s was different. What happened then was that the US's standards bureau (NIST nowadays, but it changes its name every few decades) decided it was time to do their periodic update of all measurement standards. Most government standards bodies do this, because their primary reason for existence is to say "If you use the unit X, you must use the following definition, or you'll be legally guilty of fraud". They rarely decree that you must must use unit X; their job is rather to maintain and publish the legal definitions of all units of measurement, typically using the currently best definition that their engineers know of.

            In the 1880s, the US's standards bureau decided that the metric system's units, as defined in Paris, had become the highest-precision and most reliable units. So they published a new definition of all American units in terms of metric units. This meant, for example, that the legal definition of the inch in the US became 2.56 cm. That's not an approximation with more digits; it's exact because the standards bureau says so. This meant that the metric system was legally the basis of American units of measurement, and we were officially "on the metric system". It's an "extended" metric system, of course, with both centimeters and inches, grams and ounces, etc., but the metric units became the basic units at that time, and all non-metric units were redefined in metric terms.

            And American business continued to use its traditional units of measurement, though they were now all defined as multiples of metric units. Again, there was no reason to convert until all your other related businesses converted.

            But the change is happening, slowly. I've found that, with time, it's more and more convenient to use metric tools. I don't buy measuring tapes or rulers unless they have cm and mm markings in addition to those clumsy foot/inch markings. Some recent improvements in our house were mostly done using the metric markings on the tools. And I've noticed that most things sold in hardware stores with "American" units are actually made with metric measurements; the American units are actually just approximations. If you like to tinker with your car, it's been years since you needed any non-metric tools in the US, unless you have a pre-1980 "vintage" car.

            What's pushing the change is the fact that American commerce is slowly becoming more and more international. As more things are imported, or have imported components, their measurements are round numbers in metric units and "weird" numbers in American units. And, as others have observed, US schools more and more teach metric first, with the "weird" units an afterthought. This is slowly having the desired effect of pushing the country toward uniformity with the rest of the world.

            But, as with England and Canada, we'll probably use

          • by rtb61 (674572)

            Yeah, the USA, has a completely different system of measurement, it's called "State Institutionalised Racism". Seriously WTF, so what are the ratings required for mixed breeds, you know the mongrel results of parents who can't stick to their own race. Your quibbling about metric and you have states in the USA advocating public racism, do you people not have a the concept of why this bullshit is illegal in most countries and is meant to be illegal in the US. Schools are not meant to see different races, are

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I fear that unless we can find a way to tie tie moonshine NASCAR to education somehow, we'll continue to remain second-class learners.

      Done. NASCAR Technician Training at UTI [uti.edu]

      Moonshine is practically public domain. I'm sure you can find The Foxfire Book [moonshineheritage.com] at your public library.

      After finishing the still, finishing the math PhD was the hardest thing I ever did.

  • by alphatel (1450715) * on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @12:33PM (#41968713)
    My Asian children have become lazy Americans, so I have had them diagnosed with temporary learning disabilities.
    Needless to say they are performing much better than their teachers expect of them, and have won countless awards for bravery in the face of their intellectual blight. Some parents even donate food - so now I don't have to pack any more lunches!
  • by jerpyro (926071) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @12:37PM (#41968777)

    Thank you government for pointing us in the complete wrong direction. This is absolutely going to encourage racism.

    • by ByOhTek (1181381) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @12:43PM (#41968903) Journal

      Agreed. As someone who went through school with severe disabilities (bad vision, an odd hearing issue), and typically surpassed most/all of his classmates, I find such reduction in standards to be idiotic, asinine and down-fucking-right insulting.

      If I'm not good enough at something to compete in tests with someone who doesn't have my disabilities, with someone else from a more financially sound background, with someone who is Asian, then I shouldn't get the god damn job.

      What next? Reduced vision test requirements for driving, for the visually imparfed? That's just what the world needs, me behind the wheel.

    • by 1s44c (552956) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @12:45PM (#41968931)

      Thank you government for pointing us in the complete wrong direction. This is absolutely going to encourage racism.

      Encourage racism? It is racism.

      But then racism was always OK as long as it's anti-white.

      • by jerpyro (926071) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @12:51PM (#41969039)

        Just wait until the teachers start grading on a curve and a black kid suffers social consequences because he got an A with a 75% and a white kid got a C with a 75%. Or someone who applies to a job and a "Latino 4.0" is considered substandard to an "Asian 2.0" -- any way you slice it the implications of this are outrageous.

      • by slim (1652) <`ten.puntrah' `ta' `nhoj'> on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @12:51PM (#41969043) Homepage

        But then racism was always OK as long as it's anti-white.

        Is this anti-white because blacks need lower marks, or anti-white because Asians need higher marks?

        Or could it be that it's just inherently racist in general?

        • by Rockoon (1252108) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @01:02PM (#41969251)
          Arguably it isnt the proposed race-based grading standards that is racist, but instead the myriad of reasons why it might be necessary.

          What are you going to do if someones culture really does have a significant measurable impact on their learning performance? Tell them that their culture sucks?

          This very may well be the least racist solution to the problem that can be implemented by the schools. Of course, the best solution would happen at home, but apparently thats not on the table.
          • by Velex (120469) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @01:27PM (#41969689) Journal

            What are you going to do if someones culture really does have a significant measurable impact on their learning performance? Tell them that their culture sucks?

            Yes.

          • by Znork (31774) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @01:43PM (#41969985)

            Variance within the groups is far larger than the variance between the groups, which indicates that any selection from culture or race would be wildly inappropriate to use as the main factor that impacts learning performance.

            If they for some reason want to grade ability by ability, then they should probably do a battery of learning tests and divide people into groups on that, until everyone gets average grade in their very own grade group, no matter what other groups they may or may not belong to. Which of course negates the entire point of grading at all, for better or worse.

            If they actually want to help people who have reduced performance then they can just commit resources to assist anyone who performs badly, and neither race or culture need to enter in to it.

        • I feel this more Anti-Black and Anti-Hispanics than anything else.
          My understanding is that the biggest factor to a persons growth is the expectation upon him/her.
          If a person is expected to be incompetent, more often than not, they grow to that role.
          This is very well elucidated in Tipping Point, wherein a research found that if there are more than 5% of high-income people in a locality, automatically, within 10 years, the high-income people percentage goes up (to around 40% - I dont remember now), because the overall expectation on others goes up - from their parents, spouses etc.

          Here, when the expectation is that Blacks and Hispanics are of lesser competency than Asians and Whites, they will grow to fill that role.
          Such a rule, from a group of scholars, is quite shocking indeed.

      • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @12:59PM (#41969201) Journal

        Encourage racism? It is racism.

        When I was a kid, I used to think that racism didn't happen. It was so illogical and obviously wrong. Even books that portrayed racism that "just was" in my countries past seemed to be set with an alien mentality. But then as I grew older I was exposed works like "American History X" (the son's descent into racism had flawed but plausible logic behind it) and it slowly dawned on me that there are experiences in life that encourage racism that are far more detrimental than simply being racist. Because they propagate it and it survives past the last generation on and on and anew again.

        For example, let's say you were (and this is purely hypothetical by the way) beaten and mugged by Hispanics which led you to distrust any person even remotely resembling your attackers. It's wrong for you to scream at your housemaid that was paid to clean your house by your cleaning company. And it's wrong for you to call them up and hurl racial slurs at them for putting your life and property in danger. However, the really problematic aspect of that is when you sit down with your progeny when they're little and explain to them why people with a certain color to their skin are not to be trusted. This is something that encourages racism instead of just being racist.

        But then racism was always OK as long as it's anti-white.

        Well, I didn't really read this as anti-white. I saw this as actually racist towards all races since they are binning these young minds based on external appearances. Instead of trying to buck a trend, they have embraced it. To shed this discussion of your "it's anti-white" bias, allow me to relay what I see as being the real fallout from this action: an obsessive Asian student scores 100 on this test but an African American child scores 65 and is seen as being more successful than the Asian student. This allows students to progress on the path of education and causes resentment from the Asian child directed at the African American child. "They got it easy" will probably be the sentiment but could spawn a deep seated hatred or other negative stereotypes of their classmates. No need to bring Caucasian students in to that picture or claim it's just "anti-white."

        Could you explain and give examples of racism that is okay because it's "anti-white"?

        • by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @02:02PM (#41970327) Homepage

          Could you explain and give examples of racism that is okay because it's "anti-white"?

          Not exactly racial but more ethnic at least here in Norway there's been many employers that quite openly say they prefer e.g. Polish workers over Norwegian workers in the construction industry or Swedish workers over Norwegians in the bar and restaurant industry, citing some rather crude ethnic stereotypes like higher work morale and lower sick leave. But try saying you prefer Norwegian workers over Somali workers for the same reasons and you'll be a in a world of hurt over discrimination allegations. My conclusion is that it's perfectly legal to discriminate against native Norwegians, just not against minorities.

          Another good example is child custody cases, in pretty much every other area of society women have demanded and received recognition as perfect equals to men, but as caretakers the father is still overwhelmingly considered inferior regardless of the facts of the case. It is only sexist if women are discriminated against, not men. Very often it's not about true equality, it's about a special privilege granted to a group that's defined themselves as victims but the same kind of rules don't apply to themselves. Like many of the racial minorities in this country which are extremely intolerant of women and homosexuals yet with a straight face can complain of racism then turn around and be every bit as bigoted and intolerant themselves.

          I guess it's the same as most things, people like the rules when they're in their favor and hate them when they're not. Not surprising just disappointing.

      • by Squiddie (1942230) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @01:50PM (#41970107)
        Not really anti-white from where I'm standing. It's more like an excuse to not work with black or Hispanic kids because a higher rate of failure is acceptable for them. It really is the worst kind of racism.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by craigminah (1885846)
      How will this encourage racism? Are we to think all races learn all subjects equally in school? How about men and women's learning abilities and aptitudes? What about athletics, are we all the same there as well? The truth is, we're all a little different, either through genetics or through culture and environment, and we need to stop yelling "it's racism" and instead look at how we're different. We should emphasize our strengths while working to improve our weaknesses.

      I think a good first step is to
      • by green1 (322787) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @01:46PM (#41970017)

        But is it good to mark people of different aptitudes differently?

        If I'm hiring an accountant, do I think it's ok that they can't do math because their race isn't good at it? Or do I want the math done right and don't care who does it?

        The "real world" after you graduate from school doesn't care at all what handicap you overcame to do something, and it doesn't accept any excuses for an inability to perform. If you want to do something, you will be graded on the end result, not on what your background is.

        Telling someone who got less than 50% that they are great at that subject just because their skin is a certain colour doesn't do them any favours in the future.

      • by Zalbik (308903) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @01:54PM (#41970177)

        How will this encourage racism?

        It not only encourages racism. It is racism. This is holding people to different standards depending solely upon their race. That is the very definition of racism.

        It also encourages racism by telling these students that Asians and whites are expected to perform better.

        Are we to think all races learn all subjects equally in school?

        In the absence of any research indicating otherwise, yes. How about (here's an astonishing idea), we teach individual students according to their learning strengths and weaknesses, but in grade them all the same.

        Passing students based on the color of their skin isn't helping anyone.

        we need to stop yelling "it's racism" and instead look at how we're different

        Yes, we need to look at how individual students learn and apply different teaching and learning strategies depending on the student. And when there is blatant racism occurring, we should loudly yell "it's racism".

        Not doing so isn't helping anyone, and is harming a significant portion of the American population.

  • and hypocrisy (more equal???). Orwell's administrator characters would be proud.
  • Offensive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Murdoch5 (1563847) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @12:40PM (#41968833)
    Passing should be the same for everyone, how long did we have racial profiling laws that made it impossible for equality to exist, now in one move Virginia wants to completely defeat that. If there going to profile kids based of there race do they also seat kids based off there skin color, black kids at the back, Asian's at the front so they can answer the question more easily, whites in the middle to be forgotten and average and Hispanics where ever? Same idea just a different spin, this entire concept is offensive and unethical.
    • Re:Offensive (Score:5, Insightful)

      by somersault (912633) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @12:51PM (#41969033) Homepage Journal

      And in a few years when applying for jobs: "oh, you got an A? Good job. But it's a Black A, not an Asian A. So I'm going to call it a C. I'm sorry, but you don't qualify for this job".

    • by dintech (998802) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @12:52PM (#41969059)
      I think also in Basketball, any basket scored by a white kid should be worth 4 points and if an asian kid scores, it should be worth 6.
      • by KarrdeSW (996917) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @02:00PM (#41970291)

        A week after the NBA's adoption of handicapped scoring based on racial backgrounds and disabilities, Jeremy Lin brought home an impressive performance, scoring 228 points in a single game. However, this wasn't enough to best the Lakers' newest recruit, a kid with no arms, whose managed to kick a single penalty free throw into the basket for a weighted point value of 685.

    • by pr0t0 (216378) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @02:00PM (#41970295)

      "If there going to..."

      If you were Asian, you wouldn't have made that grammatical error.

    • Re:Offensive (Score:5, Informative)

      by CowTipperGore (1081903) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @02:23PM (#41970697)

      No, and if you bothered to read past the intentionally flamebait summary, you would see that isn't what they're doing.

      The NCLB act requires states to meet benchmarks on student standardized testing and to demonstrate progress in areas where they are deficient. Virginia's proposal actually makes sense, for the most part. They have identified that their scores can be segregated into cohorts that are easy to track. Rather than expect the entire population to meet overall improvement levels each year, they want to raise up each group at rate realistic for them. If a category of students are consistently scoring at 50%, a second group at 75%, and a third group at 85%, they are saying it makes more sense to expect each group to demonstrate progress instead of just asking the entire population to hit, for example, 80%.

      This change has no impact on the expectations of individual students. The new pass rates are for how they track their progress as a state. Virginia wants to say that if they can show that group 1 improved from a 50% to 62% in three years, they have succeeded with them even if the state didn't hit a global target.

      The problem I have is that race is being used as a proxy for what is most likely a set of complex socio-economic factors. Bringing in more wealthy Hispanics will most assuredly raise that population's test scores without the state doing anything differently. But cultural and social indicators are more difficult to track than a few big racial categories, so they've picked an easy but weak measurement tool.

  • by agallagh42 (301559) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @12:41PM (#41968863) Homepage

    I just did the math. My son is 43.75% white (UK ancestry), 6.25% Mohawk, and 50% Chinese. How would Virginia deal with him? Maybe it's a good thing we live in Canada...

  • by WillAdams (45638) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @12:42PM (#41968873) Homepage

    before (instead) of doing something so foolish:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094027/ [imdb.com]

  • by LaminatorX (410794) <sabotage.praecantator@com> on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @12:43PM (#41968899) Homepage

    Why on earth did they choose to do this based on race rather than poverty?

    • The problem is neither, it is cultural. The rankings they are using seem to correlate with the emphasis each group places on education.

    • Because it's Virginia, where the the primary cause of poverty and predictor of success IS race (since those that have the money don't have the brains to judge people on merit).

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I recall reading about a black woman visiting the US, and being stopped by the police as she drove through one town. The officer asked her to show her license, but then as soon as he heard her reply in a well educated british accent, he said "Oh, I'm sorry, I thought you were black."

      Perhaps some similar thinking is happening here. A confusion of skin colour with culture?

  • by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @12:46PM (#41968949)

    Florida appears to have set the passing rate (and not the passing scores) differently (per TFA); while VA simple set different passing scores.

    The end result may well be VA has a very high rate of students scoring at the desired level while masking true achievement while FL provides a more representative picture of true outcomes.

    Standardized test issues aside; until we decide to educate our kids and address underlying cause of poor performance - including health / nutrition / access to quality schools we'll always have pockets of excellence and achievement deserts.

    What I'd like to see is the results from poor majority white school districts in poverty stricken areas of VA - how will they explain those results?

    • Re:FL vs VA (Score:5, Interesting)

      by geminidomino (614729) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @12:57PM (#41969169) Journal

      Florida appears to have set the passing rate (and not the passing scores) differently (per TFA); while VA simple set different passing scores.

      No, Virginia didn't. The shitty summary just made it look like they did.

      Another ref, besides TFA: [Citation] [dailypress.com]

      The new standards still require every student, regardless of background, to correctly answer the same number of questions to pass SOL tests.

      For example, every student who takes the third-grade math exam must answer correctly 23 of 35 questions to pass, no matter their race or background. ...
      The state did set new pass rates, or goals for how many students in each group pass each exam.

      Using the same example of the third-grade math test: the state goal is for 45 percent of black students to answer 23 of 35 items correctly and for 82 percent of Asian students to answer 23 of 35 items correctly.

      It's still stupid, ignorant, and racist as all get-out (redundancy noted), but black students won't be getting "C" grades for 45% scores.

      • by j-beda (85386)

        Florida appears to have set the passing rate (and not the passing scores) differently (per TFA); while VA simple set different passing scores.

        No, Virginia didn't. The shitty summary just made it look like they did.

        Another ref, besides TFA: [Citation] [dailypress.com]

        The new standards still require every student, regardless of background, to correctly answer the same number of questions to pass SOL tests.

        For example, every student who takes the third-grade math exam must answer correctly 23 of 35 questions to pass, no matter their race or background. ...
        The state did set new pass rates, or goals for how many students in each group pass each exam.

        Using the same example of the third-grade math test: the state goal is for 45 percent of black students to answer 23 of 35 items correctly and for 82 percent of Asian students to answer 23 of 35 items correctly.

        It's still stupid, ignorant, and racist as all get-out (redundancy noted), but black students won't be getting "C" grades for 45% scores.

        The overall idea of setting achievable goals (we will be "doing well" if x% of our worst scoring students in year 1 reach a certain goal in year 2) is probably a good one. Tracking where your students are staring from and comparing it to where they end up is useful. Using racial information as a proxy for measurements of starting level might be simple, quick, and heck, it could even be statistically accurate, but as a policy it is pretty short sighted.

      • Re:FL vs VA (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Zalbik (308903) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @02:09PM (#41970451)

        No, Virginia didn't. The shitty summary just made it look like they did.

        To be fair, the shitty NPR article also made it look like they did.

        From the article:
        "Here's what the Virginia state board of education actually did. It looked at students' test scores in reading and math and then proposed new passing rates. In math it set an acceptable passing rate at 82 percent for Asian students, 68 percent for whites, 52 percent for Latinos, 45 percent for blacks and 33 percent for kids with disabilities."

        The article claims the board "looked at test scores" and then "proposed new passing rates". This implies an equivalence between the "test scores" and "passing rates", whereas in actual fact the first refers to student's actual scores, and the second refers to the target for the % of students of each race that must pass in order for the school to be judged as "successful".

        It's still racist as heck, but the actual standards are not at all what the summary claims.

  • idiot government (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wbr1 (2538558) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @12:46PM (#41968953)
    Test scores have little to do with genetic differences between races. It is about culture and upbringing.
    To set different standards only encourages the status quo for a group. Be it hyper achievement (Asians), mediocrity (whites), or under achievement (for the rest). Groups be challenged to rise above culture and conditioning.
  • by devnullkac (223246) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @12:47PM (#41968979) Homepage

    The headline is misleading. The actual pass/fail line for each student is unchanged. The state is changing what it considers an acceptable aggregate rate of passing for groups of students, choosing race as the criterion for grouping. The stated rationale is that students of different races have different starting points, so it makes sense to seek different final achievement levels. But even if you accept that approach, it seems lazy to use race as a surrogate for academic starting point.

  • So having read the article near as I can tell schools are 'scored' based upon their students test scores. Schools with predominately asian students do well, schools with predominately black students don't, and whites and hispanics fill the middle.
    The school system has decided to change how those scores are calculated based upon the race of the students. So that now all those schools that were lower performing can use the lower standards for the black students to bring up their scores.


    In one sense I cou
  • ...would be pretty interesting after enacting a policy like that. I have a sinking feeling its yet another example of white culture/identity jumping the shark.

  • by Tangential (266113) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @12:50PM (#41969013) Homepage
    Interesting. There was much (justifiable) criticism leveled 50-60 years ago at the whole "Separate but Equal" approach.

    Odd that "Not Separate but Not Equal" wouldn't generate just as much criticism.
  • Why is it a certain segment of the US population thinks it's still the 1800's or the first 3 quarters of the 1900's?

    Other than that thought, this news has left me speechless.

  • It looks like these rate are for the each groups over the entire state, at least according to my interpretation of the article? In that case, demographic factors already skews grades over entire segments, and this is recognition of that. I bet they eventually divide subgroups further - sex, wealth, geography, distance from school, class sizes, etc.

    Not sure if this is right or wrong, but in my view if you want to improve an overall group, you find its strongest & weakest members, figure out why they ar

  • What are passing scores for users of Windows/Mac/Linux/BSD? What about programmers of C/Python/Java/PHP/Basic?

  • by darronb (217897) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @12:55PM (#41969127)

    Let's just ignore the whole discrimination problem here and ask simply:

    Doesn't this remove a lot of the incentive for the lower threshold students to catch up? Wouldn't it demoralize the students with the higher threshold?

    This is simply rigging the statistics to hide the problem. It will create many more problems than the one it attempts to cover up.

  • For the last 70 years, we've been operating on the "blank slate" principle that all people are equal in ability.

    This legislation seems to reverse course, and argue for paternalism, or the idea that certain favored races should help the others at their own expense (nasty catch: in exchange for those races playing by the favored races' rules).

    It's an interesting turn of events, but I think it's going to backfire. It's condescending, even if it "means well," because it essentially tells certain races that they

  • by wcrowe (94389) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @12:57PM (#41969171)

    What if Tiger Woods went to school in Virginia? Is his passing rate 68% or 45%?

    And when he plays golf, is the hole a par-3 or par-5?

  • Goodbye America (Score:4, Insightful)

    by neither_geek_nor_ner (1002460) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @12:58PM (#41969173)
    Evolution not to be taught, rape victims can control pregnancy by mind control, different standards for different races..... America doesn't need external enemies... they have enough idiots in the country who are doing a better job at destroying it!
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @12:59PM (#41969191) Journal
    The best predictor for educational/academic success is not race. It is the level of education of the parents. Usually parents' educational achievement is correlated with income and wealth too. (correlated, that is all. No inference on the direction of causation). Level of education of parents is also correlated with race. With so many cross correlation it takes some serious study to understand the causation, and the feedback loop.

    I think the students would be better served if a relative ranking within their own "class" is tabulated. A student can belong to more than one class. One by race, another by level of income, and another by level of parents' education etc. Again instead of messing around with pass/fail for the students, this correlation should be used to judge teachers. All teachers do not get uniform quality input. Then it is wrong to judge them by the raw educational achievements of their students. These correlations can be used to identify the good teachers and the bad teachers.

  • by Swave An deBwoner (907414) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @01:05PM (#41969293)

    They screwed it up.

    They shouldn't be classifying the kids into "racial" categories first and then setting grade requirements; that's silly.

    They should assign the kids to racial categories based on their test scores instead.

  • I'm not an educator and only worked in a high school a couple years, so I'm no expert. But IMO the problem with the system is these mediocre standards. And, kids who aren't cutting the mustard aren't held back, they're just pushed along to the next grade where they can slow up everyone else. We've got kids graduating high school who can barely read because no one ever wanted to hold them back until they "got it." That in turn slows down education at higher levels.

    I don't know about your experiences, but

  • by holophrastic (221104) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @01:14PM (#41969441)

    It's one thing to be racist. It's another thing to have good reason to do so. This sort of thing gives large populations an actualy reason to be racist. Between "you didn't work as hard to get here", and "me and every one of my peers", you might as well segrogate the schools, since you've totally segrogates the students.

    And what of group projects? Or don't you have those in your country? Why would a white member treat a latino member with any respect in such a group? Moreover, why would the asian guy expect the disabled student to even try? At basically a third of the value, it becomes meaningless: a chasm between them.

    There was never anything wrong with a disabled person being a few grades behind. That made sense. It makes sense because those that happen to succeed, get to be proud of doing so. That's true at all levels.

    It should never have been "no student left behind". It should have been "no students dragged forward".

  • by bhlowe (1803290) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @01:24PM (#41969641)
    The less racist way would be to test children's IQ's and use the number to set a goal for achievement. It makes no sense to have the same goals for all kids no matter what their innate intelligence is. IQ is easily testable, and it is difficult to increase your IQ by more than a standard deviation through "study" or environment. Doing it based on self-identified "skin color" is a shortcut that will lead to underachievement by smart kids that are in a "dumbed down" category. Education is the most expensive budget item in every state, and yet we don't use technology to assess kids and create personalized lessons that are tailored to a kids ability. IQ is already tested for in schools, so it would not be difficult to integrate the number into the scores used to gauge educational progress.
  • by wisnoskij (1206448) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @01:27PM (#41969687) Homepage

    The entire education industry has completely different standards for different races for a long time.

    It is only fair to keep doing it, or decide the entire idea is bad. It was decided a long time ago that in IQ tests women are equal to men , the tests are designed from the ground up to make this be the case, it is really only fair to then say that other races are also equal (regardless of what the reason that they score differently in the first place).

  • Mixed race? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bob_jordan (39836) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @01:27PM (#41969691)

    I know someone who is half African and half Chinese. How would their passing score be calculated?

    Bob.

    • I know someone who is half African and half Chinese. How would their passing score be calculated?

      They have the hard choice of either seeking Mark Dean or Yao Ming as role models. I wonder how the Virginia Plantation's owners would classify those men.

  • by greywire (78262) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @01:46PM (#41970023) Homepage

    This will pave the way for employers to pay as little as half as much for employing blacks, latinos and even white people, since they are clearly not capable of being expected to do any better. This will be great for business and a sorely needed stimulus for the economy! Imagine how much money businesses will save now, and you know that will be directly passed on to the consumer with lower prices for everybody!

Murphy's Law, that brash proletarian restatement of Godel's Theorem. -- Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"

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