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

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 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • Re:Discrimination (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 3vi1 ( 544505 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @12:48PM (#41968985) Homepage Journal

    >> but in this case I do feel especially bad for Asian's and Whites given the higher requirement for them.

    You've got it backwards: Feel bad for the other races, who won't be pushed to excel to the same level and will therefore be stuck in menial low-pay jobs for the rest of their lives.

  • 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 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 ) <john@hartnu p . net> 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?

  • 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 Mordok-DestroyerOfWo ( 1000167 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @01:00PM (#41969215)

    Aren't blacks always saying no one is pure?

    Blacks...and anybody with more than 3 brain cells. We are a very amorous species and will mate with anything regardless of race, color, or creed. In my family tree (to two generations) I have Western European, North African, Mexican, and good ole' Canadian. So, in summation: The only racial purity left is with the hopelessly inbred European royals, nobody is pure and that is a damned good thing for humanity as a whole.

  • 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 macbeth66 ( 204889 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @01:06PM (#41969307)

    Staying where your parents were, let alone upward mobility is gone in America.

    In what America was that ever true? For most, setting aside luck, regardless of what you do, the class you were born in is the class you die in. You might move a little upwards within your class, but it was rare to find someone in middle class breaking out into the upper class. They would never have allowed it. Even those of us with better incomes are 'nouveau' and are never truly accepted.

  • by thePig ( 964303 ) <> on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @01:36PM (#41969861) Journal

    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 fishthegeek ( 943099 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @01:37PM (#41969869) Journal

    For most, setting aside luck, regardless of what you do, the class you were born in is the class you die in.

    I can't bear to think about how horrible your world must be to live in. The outcome of ones life is by-and-large a result of the choices one makes. If you want to double your chance of success you have to double your rate of failure. To quote someone who might know about things like this.... "Whether you think you can or you can't, you're right." --Henry Ford

  • 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 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.

  • 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 OverlordQ ( 264228 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @01:48PM (#41970067) 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).

    My dad worked on the production line at Tyson and my mom was a secretary at an insurance company. The highest education between them is an Associates from a Junior College. I got a BS in Computer Science and my sister got her MPH and MD. I would dispute that parental education is a deciding factor in their kids' and has more to do with how you were raised.

  • 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.
  • 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.

  • by Bill_the_Engineer ( 772575 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @02:01PM (#41970305)

    Why would you say something like that? They are under no obligation to learn better than they do now. It's their choice to work harder. You don't disparage South American indigenous people for their life choices, either (I hope, at least).

    I think the problem has more to do with how do they fit in the society in which they live. An aboriginal tribesman in New York City will have a hard time not because he's inferior (which I find measuring a culture versus Western civilization a little disingenuous) but because his lifestyle puts him at a significant disadvantage when compared to his neighbors. So world culture comparisons is really off-topic to what is being discussed.

    I think the "elephant in the room" is that we have a single labor market in the US, and trying to grade people on the curve based on their social or ethnic background isn't doing anyone any favors. If a job requires a skill set "A" then we should be able to measure accurately that applicants have skill set "A" not that he would have skill set "A" if he was a certain race or income bracket.

    Grading on a social curve isn't really doing anyone any favor and does more to hide problems than fix them.

  • 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 operagost ( 62405 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @02:41PM (#41971037) Homepage Journal
    This is a disgusting statement in a nation where two out of the last three presidents came out of poor or lower-middle class homes... broken homes, even. The most impoverished people in our nation are not the ones with the least wealth, but those who blame others and make excuses for their lack of effort.
  • by Dishevel ( 1105119 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2012 @02:54PM (#41971293)

    This is not about what the scholars think.
    This is the result of the feds getting involved in education.
    The state is under pressure to "Achieve" certain numbers to get their crack. (Money)
    The state just wants its funds. Fuck the children. Fuck the future.

  • Here it is again, the "outlier invalidates the trend" mode of thinking.

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