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« Tweeters Threaten To Riot If Romney Wins | Main | LIVE: Red Bull Stratos - Attempt Number Two at the Freefall Record From the Edge of Space »

Why Can't Johnny Read?

Perhaps part of the reason is bureauratic de facto racism. 

In a misguided attempt to address the achievement gap between demographic groups, the Florida Board of Education has issued new guidelines, which accept within policy the premise that blacks will do worse than latinos, who will do worse than whites, who will do worse than orientals.  The goal of improving performance is admirable, but the means being outlined here are awful.

Student standards should be uniform across the board, without regard to racial pigeonholing.  Students who need remedial help should get it, so they can catch up.  They should not be told that the expectations for them will be lower.  To present such lowered standards to one racial group or another is to implement the self-fulfilling prophecy. 

Stop segregating by tinkering with statistics, and start educating our kids.   

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Reader Comments (52)

Who can be bothered with our children's education? Not Obama. That's for the teachers unions to figure out. Besides, Obama has other pressing time constraints like being on Z-94 in Fort Lauderdale where the headline DJ's name is "Pimp with a Limp."

You stay classy Barack Obama.

October 15, 2012 at 06:57 | Unregistered CommenterThomas Miller

I read yesterday that the purpose of the different standards of racial classifications in these standards is recognition that different racial classifications have different ways to go in improving their scores. Such that asians score the highest so they have less room for improvement, followed by whites then latinos and then blacks.

It seems fairly reasonable to me.

October 15, 2012 at 09:37 | Registered Commenterkwawk

It seems fairly reasonable to me.

So you find it "reasonable" to designate learning capacity as a racial characteristic?

October 15, 2012 at 09:51 | Registered CommenterMachiavelli

They're not designating learning capacity, they're evaluating each group by improvement needs and trying to come up with reasonable standards for measurement of improvement.

If white students are presently hitting 69% passing for educational assessment and black students are presently hitting 50% then if in 5 years whites are at 75% but blacks are at 65% then blacks have made a greater improvement than have whites.

Here's a good explanation of the matter:

October 15, 2012 at 10:15 | Registered Commenterkwawk

A student can either read at an acceptable level, or he cannot. Period. That acceptable level has NOTHING to do with race.

Get the failing students the extra help they need to succeed.

Success will never come if the standards are lowered rather than students being elevated.

These new standards are insulting, telling black students that they are less capable than others. Putting this in the best possible light, the new standards say to black students: "Pretty soon, you won't be quite as stupid as you are now. Still more stupid than other races, but..." How in earth is that a good thing?

October 15, 2012 at 10:38 | Unregistered CommenterRedBeard

Except they're not changing the standards for passing based upon race, they're taking large categories of children and measuring the average number of children passing and failing and designating improvement levels across those groups.

If the average healthy weight for a person is 160lbs and memebers of Group A weigh on average of 190 lbs and members of Group B weigh an average of 220 lbs, if creating a diet plan for both groups would you insist that both group must come down to 160 lbs in the same amount of time or would you set different targets for different groups?

October 15, 2012 at 10:43 | Registered Commenterkwawk

They're not designating learning capacity, they're evaluating each group by improvement needs and trying to come up with reasonable standards for measurement of improvement.

Again, what bearing does one's membership in a racial "group" have on one's learning deficiencies and need for "improvement"?

October 15, 2012 at 10:50 | Registered CommenterMachiavelli

It has to do with the fact that from the 1600's to the 1960's black Americans were denied fair access to the educational system, and as such they developed a culture that didn't place a heavy emphasis on formal education. It is that culture that we are fighting through.

And being married to an asian, for whatever reason, asians have developed a culture that over emphasized education, in my opinion, to the extent of sacrificing social skills and creativity. Which is why asian students tend to out-perform white students.

October 15, 2012 at 11:14 | Registered Commenterkwawk

Isn't it ironic how inner city charter and private schools with the "cultural make-up" of public schools do so much better with educating kids than public schools. Many times on budget half of what pucblic schools get. It couldn't be the teacher unions and their " Too Big to Fire or Terminate" policy for bad teachers could it????

October 15, 2012 at 12:03 | Unregistered CommenterThomas Miller

Isn't it ironic how inner city charter and private schools with the "cultural make-up" of public schools do so much better with educating kids than public schools. Many times on budget half of what pucblic schools get. It couldn't be the teacher unions and their " Too Big to Fire or Terminate" policy for bad teachers could it????

October 15, 2012 at 12:04 | Unregistered CommenterThomas Miller

TM - You have any evidence to back that up? Cause most studies I've seen show charter schools doing no better if not worse than comparable public schools.

In any case, am I the first to question whether Mitt Romney's campaign is being managed by Bill the Cat?

October 15, 2012 at 12:14 | Registered Commenterkwawk

Again, what bearing does one's membership in a racial "group" have on one's learning deficiencies and need for "improvement"?

It only has a bearing if one is an institutional racist, working at cross purposes to the goal one claims to support. Segregation was bad when it was implemented to prevent blacks from advancing, and it's also bad when leftists apply it in a hopelessly screwed up and self-defeating effort to make things better. Segregation is a societal evil, no matter the reason it is applied.

October 15, 2012 at 13:22 | Unregistered CommenterRedBeard

Kwawk, do you have any evidence that blacks culturely have distain for education? If you believe the problem exists at the cultural level, how does holding blacks to a lower educational standard combat that?

October 15, 2012 at 13:25 | Registered CommenterMachiavelli

The core problem with outcome-based education is that it's not possible to make someone learn, so standards are lowered and twisted until the bureaucrats can disingenuously say that everyone succeeded. Baloney..

One standard of proper achievement, applied equally across the board, together with proper instruction and remedial help, is the best a school can do. Some kids will fail. Some will excel. We can't change that by fooling around with statistics and segregating the races by using differing phony standards. 2+2=4. The sum is not 3 for some, and 5 for others. It's always 4, for everyone.

October 15, 2012 at 14:35 | Unregistered CommenterRedBeard


Have you heard of Google? Data link is below. Watch the documentary "Waiting for Superman" and the reactions of minority parents when they find their child is or is not getting into a Charter school. It's heart breaking. Also, if Charter and Public Schools merely break even on student performance but the Charter school does for less cost, that in itself is significant

October 15, 2012 at 14:46 | Unregistered CommenterThomas Miller

Redbeard - The school administrators are not segregating out blacks and making the score lower on standardized testing, they're simply measuring each group by the same standard and setting goals for improvement. If anything the targets put a greater burden on blacks by insisting that the improvement rate among blacks be improved by 100% (38% to 74%) while whites would only have to improve 27% (69% to 88%).

It is not meant to segregate blacks but to bring them closer into alingment with their white, asian, and latino counterparts while admitting that closing the gap completely will take longer than the time frame of the current plan.

Pass fail on the testing is not different, the only thing that is different is the rate of improvement targeted for each group.

October 15, 2012 at 14:47 | Registered Commenterkwawk

Mach - If you want to argue that blacks are inherently academically inferior to white, latino and asian students, be my guest. Not going to go there with you.

October 15, 2012 at 14:48 | Registered Commenterkwawk


October 15, 2012 at 15:05 | Registered CommenterMachiavelli

Kwawk, please explain how you can construe any of my comments as an arguement in favor of the notion that race plays any part in academic ability.

October 15, 2012 at 15:18 | Registered CommenterMachiavelli

Mach - If you want to argue that blacks are inherently academically inferior to white, latino and asian students, be my guest. Not going to go there with you.

You already did by reinforcing this assumption that blacks and latinos can't improve with the same potential as whites and asians... which is inherently false. Individuals can struggle, however an entire color doesn't. You can try to argue societal bullshit and nonsense with me, however when we're talking about a school district that is supposedly pushing the same criteria for all their students... not just the blacks, whites, etc.

What the school has done is grant themselves leniency over what they deem "acceptable" solely based on race. They alone are saying the blacks and latinos are academically inferior... and for some reason you think that's fairly reasonable.

Call me crazy but if my kids went from being F and/or D students I wouldn't give them a bunch of pats on their backs or any "atta girls" for improving to a D+ average, not when they're capable of doing far better by putting forth a little more effort. If they're truly working hard at improving and not just half-assing it there's no reason they can't make significant improvements. Again, that comes down to the individual, not the color of that individual... and it's up to the teachers to identify those problems and work to get them improving.

We owe it up to those same struggling kids to hold them to the same, strict guidelines. We're basically telling these kids that an unacceptable level of education for one race is a grand accomplishment for another. In doing so you are precisely measuring the inferiority of one race less than that of another. A grade of B for asians is somehow falling behind but a D for blacks is getting ahead? C'mon... you don't see the stupidity there?

October 15, 2012 at 15:23 | Registered Commenterskinnydipinacid

Mach - It's the old nature or nurture thing. Is the lack of academic success of black the result of genetics or is it culture. My vote is for culture.

Skinny - The targets Redbeard is discussing actually put an emphasis on blacks improving more than whites. So that isn't the issue. The standardized tests being used score the same way whether the student is white or black, so it isn't a matter of holding black students to a different standard.

What this is about is how to measure the success of an educational program, in how it achieves holding students to a higher standard. The targets simply say that since blacks have further to travel, it will take longer to get there.

October 15, 2012 at 15:30 | Registered Commenterkwawk

When I look online there is another theory to explain why blacks don't have the same academic success as whites, and that is institutional racism. Blacks aren't afforded the opportunites that whites are and aren't promoted to advanced courses as often.

We could mandate that more blacks are promoted to higher classes, but you guys would decry that as affirmative action thus reverse discrimination.

October 15, 2012 at 15:32 | Registered Commenterkwawk

TM, did you read the link you posted?

On average, nationally, students in 17 percent of charter schools performed significantly better than if they had attended their neighborhood traditional public school.
On the flip side, students in 37 percent of charter schools performed significantly worse, and students in the remaining 46 percent of charter schools did not perform significantly better or worse than if they had attended their neighborhood traditional public school. However, research also shows that students in charter high schools score higher on college entrance exams (e.g., the SAT or ACT) and are more likely to graduate high school and attend college than similar students in traditional public schools.

Since overall charter schools perform worse than public schools, 17% better than public, 37% worse than public, might the difference in SAT/ACT scores and likelyhood of going to college represent the fact that a parent willing to seek out and send their kid to a charter school is just more likely to be pushing their kid to go college?

October 15, 2012 at 15:44 | Registered Commenterkwawk

KwAwk seems confused as to the nature of the institutional racism that's going on here. The problem starts when liberal "educators" decide that separating kids according to race is a good thing. It's not. It wasn't good during the days of Bull Connor's hard segregation, and it isn't good now in the era of soft liberal segregation.

October 15, 2012 at 15:45 | Unregistered CommenterRedBeard

I don't think this is really about separating students there Red. It's about measuring the success of teachers, schools and educational initiatives. You're so hung up in black and white sometimes Red (either/or thinking style, not race).

If you feel that it is a legetimate target for one subsection of students to be at a pass fail rate of 88% in five years, but you only think it is realisitc that another group which has further to pass at 74%, where do you set the standard if you want to fairly judge teachers and schools?

Do you set it at 88% even though your own studies have shown that number to be unrealistic? Or do you set it at 74% which your own studies have shown to be a floor and not a ceiling or a middle number?

You guys are the ones who are insisting that educators and schools need to be held accountable, how do you propose to do that if you can't bring yourself to set reasonable goals? And if you won't why shouldn't teachers all migrate to white suburban districts where it is easier to achieve your standards?

October 15, 2012 at 15:57 | Registered Commenterkwawk subsection of students...another group...

KwAwk, are you not seeing the problem here?

October 15, 2012 at 16:33 | Unregistered CommenterRedBeard

No, because you're only separating data about the kids, not the kids themselves.

October 15, 2012 at 16:53 | Registered Commenterkwawk

If they have success, they'll be afforded the opportunities for advanced courses, however the individuals have to learn to walk before they should run, or worse... be mandated to run a marathon. When looking over a student's grades, does it say what color that student is?

No... that's why your last online theory sounds like the ramblings of some booksmart, common-sense lacking, phony-intellectual.

My guess it was probably a college professor... am I right?

October 15, 2012 at 17:03 | Unregistered Commenterskinnydipinacid

Yeah Skinny. Racism doesn't exist.

This is what is fun about talking with conservatives. We start with a premise that black students underperform on standardized tests. When we talk about why the answer is we shouldn't talk about why and address a solution to fix the problem, we should just wag our fingers in the kids faces until they figure things out for themselves.

It's not genetic.

It's not culture.

It's not institutional racism.

It just is!

October 15, 2012 at 17:08 | Registered Commenterkwawk

My guess it was probably a college professor... am I right?

Ofcourse, do you know many plumbers who publish studies on the racial components of educational statistics?

October 15, 2012 at 17:10 | Registered Commenterkwawk

So it's genetics and racism in our schools... that's your answer?

Excuse me... "online theory?"

October 15, 2012 at 17:15 | Registered Commenterskinnydipinacid

I wonder if the teachers' union will decide to embrace the idea and theory you're putting forth by saying "we're not racist for granting minorities a little leniency on their learning ability because it's the institution that's truly racist".

Are institutions people, kwawk?

October 15, 2012 at 17:22 | Registered Commenterskinnydipinacid

I think to reinforce kwawk's thinking teachers should do attendance every morning by asking if that student is present, if they brought their own lunch or eating hot lunch... and what color their skin is.

That should give them an idea of how much learning will occur that day.

October 15, 2012 at 17:28 | Registered Commenterskinnydipinacid

"Michelle Obama: We’re In A ‘Huge Recovery"

It's apparent Michell Obama can't read, write or add either.

October 15, 2012 at 17:28 | Unregistered CommenterThomas Miller

As I've said before I think it is a cultural issue. Both in the black community and outside of it. If you're not confident in yourself then people won't be confident in you. If you speak in ebonics people will judge you, and not think you're fluent in writing grammatically correct English either. If as a teacher you're accustomed to your black students underperforming on standardized testing, you're less likely to promote black students to higher levels.

In any case, simply wagging your finger in peoples faces won't work any better on these issues than it has on making unemployment fade away, or gay people run back into the closet or making people not have abortions.

It seems like your fingers would get tired after a while, and you'd look for something else to do.

In any case have you noticed that Mitt's post debate bounce is evaporating?

October 15, 2012 at 17:37 | Registered Commenterkwawk

In any case have you noticed that Mitt's post debate bounce is evaporating?

No... but then again I know how to read polls...
and you've shown time and time again that you do not...
You actually buy in to what these garbage polls are selling you.

+9 Democrat advantage & Obama with a 3 pt lead = Choomster kicks ass!!

Per the article:

Partisan identification fluctuates from poll to poll as basic orientations shift and with the sampling variability that accompanies each randomly selected sample of voters. In the current poll, Democrats outnumber Republicans by nine percentage points among likely voters; the previous three Post-ABC polls had three-, six- and five-percentage-point edges for Democrats. The presidential contest would now be neck and neck nationally with any of these margins.

In layman's terms the poll was garbage yet the ABC/WaPo pollsters posted it anyway.
It's very obvious, so please kwawk, don't quit your day job to persue a career as a pollster.
You apparently can't tell yesterday's garbage from today's cuisine.

October 15, 2012 at 22:31 | Registered Commenterskinnydipinacid

My cousin is a high-achieving individual, a straight A student, and a good prospect for class valedictorian. She also happens to be black. We reject the notion that she should be told that the expectations for her success are lower simply because of her utterly irrelevant racial surface features.

Her brother is equally bright, but barely a C student. The reason? He would rather hold a baseball than a book, which is a rather common phenomenon across demographic lines. We also reject the notion that his lack of accademic achievement is because of the tight little racial pigeonhole into which liberals want to stuff him.

These two kids are not parts of some idiotic collective invented by liberal bureaucrats. They are individuals, and should be treated as such.

October 16, 2012 at 04:45 | Unregistered CommenterRedBeard

"In any case have you noticed that Mitt's post-debate bounce is evaporating?"

Oh' desperation!! Lib pollsters will tell you the reason for the huge differential in democratic and republican respondents is that Obama is now more popular than he was 2008. Yes, that's right. It's said with a straight face.

Track Rasmussen, he has it right and has been the most accurate pollster for the last two presidential elections. His numbers show Obama cratering with women & independents.

October 16, 2012 at 06:18 | Unregistered CommenterThomas Miller

I don't let any one poll or another swing me too far in one direction or another. Mitt's post debate bounce took him to +2 in the aggregate polling. His first lead! But has since dropped to +0.1. As much as a statistical tie as you can get.

If Obama can present a better self tonight, which by all accounts he will, considering his history of being able to learn and adjust, those aggregate poll numbers will jump right back to where they were before the first debate as people get the psychic permission from the media to come back to Obama.

October 16, 2012 at 10:26 | Registered Commenterkwawk

I don't let any one poll or another swing me too far in one direction or another.

Bullshit... you do it every time a favorable poll for Obama comes out. There's Pew and Rasmussen still putting Romney up 2-4 pts. You choose not to discuss those, correct? Instead you'll talk about yet another skewed poll you obviously don't understand and bring it up for discussion as if it means anything. I wouldn't even waste my time belittling them if you didn't repeatedly post their findings here. They're THAT insignificant. Dem advantages +8 to +20?

Instead you'll focus on media polls, PPP polls or RCP polls that take the average of all those mentioned. You don't want accurate polling data... it makes you sad and your phony polls are like Prozac for leftists. Just keep popping the pills and ignore the real problems. The don't exist.

Even RCP's poll averages show a more favorable result that what you're proclaiming at 0.1% and ONLY the media-driven polls are keeping it close.

Seriously... it's foolish even trying to pass off these sort of numbers as a logical thought. I know you're merely aping what others are saying, but if it's proven to be a nonsensical analysis, why even bother (unless you're simply trying to spin Obama's failing campaign as winning, kicking ass or labeling it as not yet a complete disaster)? It still clearly reflects the position of yours.

"I don't let any one poll or another swing me too far in one direction or another." No instead moonbats have skewed polls do all the swinging for them, but never too far from the direction they want them too. If it's looking bad for Obama, just poll more Obama supporters (likely or not).

October 16, 2012 at 12:15 | Registered Commenterskinnydipinacid

I do so like to quote Rasmussen polls to harass TM a bit. He seems to think the sun orbit around ole Scotty R.

Most of the time I use RCP averages when I'm trying to make a serious point about what the polls say. RCP now has the race at Romney +0.3%. They changed the Rasmussen numbers from +1 to +2 which accounts for the difference from what I posted earlier.

I've never argued that Obama has run a kick ass campaign, only that Romney has run a really poor campaign. I've acknowledged the polls movement both for and against Obama all through the election season, and unlike you guys never cried about who did the polls (in aggreagate) just because I don't like what the polls have said.

What I do think is that the numbers will move back in Obama's favor before the election, just because Romney is running a disingenuous campaign. He's running on the George W. Bush economic plan, and I really don't think the American people are going to be fooled this time.

October 16, 2012 at 12:33 | Registered Commenterkwawk

I've never argued that Obama has run a kick ass campaign, only that Romney has run a really poor campaign.

Yes, I know you've never claimed Obama's been kicking ass... that was in fact a low blow directed only at Winston, not you. However I would very much so disagree on who's run a good / poor campaign. It all comes down to momentum on November 6th, white POTUS seems to be lacking. He hopes to limp through the elections and hope his miserable failures don't trip him up along the way. To top him off Biden embarrassed his party further by claiming they knew nothing about Libya. Pile on the list of recent negatives and Obama will need a miracle to win.

Meanwhile Romney has been trucking right along, receiving even more donations than previous months, and his favorability numbers are beginning to pass Obama's. He comes off looking more presidential than our president time and time again (liberals call that "politicizing issues", apparently) and has a VP that doesn't get under nearly as many peoples' skin (especially independents).

You need a better campaign strategy than Romney = George W Bush... you need a game changer and for Obama not to show up to tonight's debate looking all Rocky Mountain high like he did in Denver.

October 16, 2012 at 12:41 | Registered Commenterskinnydipinacid

It's true he made a feint to the middle in the first debate, and then in the VP debate had Ryan pivot him back to the right. I don't think he can win doing this over and over again.

You ever wonder why Romney has proposed such a large increase in defense spending when no one can seem to figure out why, since we already have such a large deficit and defense isn't calling for the money?

I was thinking about that today. It's meant as a backdoor stimulus package. Large increases in Federal spending on domestic production of military goods, to be able to stimulate GDP while claiming you didn't engage in a stimulus package. This coupled with tax cuts would then drive up the deficit to levels where Social Security and Medicare would by Republican claims have to be privatized, thus handing it over to for profit entities.

What the lesson is from Romney's big post debate spike is that if he were to run as a true center right figure he would be winning the race hands down. Instead he's been trying to sell the people that he is a center-right candidate with the intent of achieving far right goals, and people have seen this before in George W. Bush. It's why they're so skeptical of voting for him.

Obama does need to do his part and better explain his own policies while attacking Romney's but I think Obama's team will make the adjustments necesary. We saw what is happening in this race with the Obama/Clinton primary. Obama has trouble putting people away when he gets ahead, but he will close out when he needs to.

October 16, 2012 at 13:14 | Registered Commenterkwawk

p.s. Gallup just updated their polls too (50-46), putting Obama even further behind (by average poll, hampered down by skewed media numbers) at 0.6%. Now if only ABC News/Wash Post and Politico/GWU/Battleground's could disconnect themselves from Winston's alternate universe long enough to put up some real numbers.

Even PPP has Romney up (along with 23 other polls). That's not good (well, for me it's great... others, not so much). It shows there's much more at stake for Obama, who literally HAS to do good tonight for his entire re-election not to fall apart, if it's even salvageable at this point.

October 16, 2012 at 13:38 | Registered Commenterskinnydipinacid

We've been treated to two whole weeks to how Obama underperformed in the last debate. Tonight the topic changes. I think Obama will change the topic for the better.

PS == America loves a good comeback story.

October 16, 2012 at 14:13 | Registered Commenterkwawk

The only comeback story I want to hear is the one in which we return to constitutional government.

October 16, 2012 at 14:25 | Unregistered CommenterRedBeard

Yes, yes, we're all aware of your fondness for the imaginary status quo of 1795.

October 16, 2012 at 14:34 | Registered Commenterkwawk

Yes, yes, we're all aware of your fondness for breaking the Supreme Law of the Land whenever it gets in the way of your leftist utopian dreams.

You want the Constitution changed? Then amend it. Until you do, follow it. I know that's a difficult concept for a leftist to grasp, but do your best.

October 16, 2012 at 14:58 | Unregistered CommenterRedBeard

You first Red. If you feel that Corporations are people, then by all means lets see your Constitutional Amendment pass that declares Corporations are people.

October 16, 2012 at 15:49 | Registered Commenterkwawk

What? No, really, WHAT? That has to be one of the strangest and most disconnected posts in a litany of strange and disconnected kwAwk posts.

Put down the Mother Earth News, unplug the hose from your hookah, and step away slowly.

October 16, 2012 at 17:17 | Unregistered CommenterRedBeard

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