Virginia’s new school standards: A wake-up call for black families

By | September 14, 2012

When the Virginia Department of Education released its long-term plans to improve student achievement last month, mouths throughout the state were left agape in disbelief. Changes to the state’s long time student assessment tool, the Standards of Learning (SOL) appear to significantly lessen the performance expectations of black and Latino students. The action had student advocacy groups crying foul.

According to the Virginia Department of Education, the new evaluation system called Annual Measurable Objectives (AMO) are based on actual student performance and achievement data from the 2010-2011 school year.

The goal is to reduce the proficiency gaps that exist between student subgroups. But in the process, it offers some harsh realities: Under the new rules, only 45 percent of black students are expected to pass state math exams, compared to 52 percent of Hispanics, 68 percent of white students and 82 percent for Asian students. By the 2016-2017 school year, the goals in math will increase to 57 percent for blacks, 65 percent for Hispanics, 78 percent for whites and 89 percent for Asians. (The Washington Post)

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