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Florida OKs racially based academic goals

(PALM BEACH POST) — A plan by Florida to set goals for students in math and reading based on their race has educators and community activists furious in Palm Beach County and across the state.

On Tuesday, the State Board of Education passed a revised strategic plan that says that by 2018, it wants 90 percent of Asian students, 88 percent of white students, 81 percent of Hispanics and 74 percent of black students to be reading at or above grade level. For math, the goals are 92 percent of Asian kids proficient, whites at 86 percent, Hispanics at 80 percent and blacks at 74 percent. It also measures by other groupings, such as poverty and disabilities.

“To expect less from one demographic and more from another is just a little off-base,” said Juan Lopez, magnet coordinator at John F. Kennedy Middle School in Riviera Beach. JFK Middle has a black student population of about 88 percent. “Our kids, although they come from different socioeconomic backgrounds, they still have the ability to learn,” Lopez said. “To dumb down the expectations for one group, that seems a little unfair.”