By Leonard Pitts Jr.

You Can’t Fix Education By Lowering The Bar

November 26, 2012 12:00 am Category: Memo Pad 38 Comments A+ / A-

I take this one personally. Let me tell you why.

As I recall, I scored 960 on my SAT. This was good enough for second best in my class and many congratulations and backslaps from teachers and administrators. Based on that, I thought I’d done pretty well.

So I’m in college, right? Freshman year, and I get to talking with my roommate, this white guy named Reed, about our SAT scores. Reed’s kind of sheepish, finally confessing that he scored “only” about 1200.

That’s when I realized I had not done pretty well. I had done pretty well for a student of John C. Fremont High, in the poverty, crime and grime of South Los Angeles. I had done pretty well for a black kid.

As it happens, I started classes at the University of Southern California at 15 years of age, got good grades and came out four years later with my degree. So there was nothing wrong with my brain. I’ve always suspected my modest SAT score and the fact that I was encouraged to celebrate it said less about me than about the expectations others had of me — and kids like me.

So yes, it touches me in a raw spot, this news that two states — Florida and Virginia — have adopted new education standards under which they would set different goals for students, based on race, ethnicity and disability.

Like many other states, Florida and Virginia requested waivers from the No Child Left Behind Act’s unrealistic goal of having every child at grade level in reading and math by 2014. But these states used their waivers to create separate and unequal performance standards for their black, white, Hispanic, Asian and disabled children.

Last month, for example, Florida set a goal of having 86 percent of white kids at or above grade level in math by 2018. For black kids, the goal is 74 percent. Virginia is wrestling with similar standards.

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You Can’t Fix Education By Lowering The Bar Reviewed by on . I take this one personally. Let me tell you why. As I recall, I scored 960 on my SAT. This was good enough for second best in my class and many congratulations I take this one personally. Let me tell you why. As I recall, I scored 960 on my SAT. This was good enough for second best in my class and many congratulations Rating:

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Comments

  • Patrick Theros

    I thought that the right-wing, which governs both states. opposed racial quoats in affirmatgive action.

    • johninPCFL

      Remember, higher scores improve chances of re-election.

      • Canadiangirl57

        So true, and they can’t have that reality come through. Can they? God forbid.

    • onedonewong

      they are simply calling a spade a spade

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_B6RROC4IUESHT322QS5VJVPYRM Lynda

        Are you really that stupid, or are you pretending just for effect? Your attempt at humor speaks volumes about you and colors you green with envy.

  • nobsartist

    You cant fix education by having half wits like bush meddle in it either.

    • onedonewong

      or quota blacks like barak who ‘s intellect is inferior to those admitted based on merit

      • nobsartist

        “quota blacks”? You are an asshole.

        • onedonewong

          even barak has never made the claim that he was admitted on merit he has agreed he was a quota same for Powell

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charlie-Watkins/100001075495857 Charlie Watkins

            I was admitted on merit (I barely made it) despite the system being rigged against me, but there were only a few of us.

          • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.vila.1 Dominick Vila

            Are you talking about Ehud Barak, the Israeli Defense Minister, or President Barack Obama?

          • nobsartist

            I still claim that you are an asshole so whats your point? By the way, how do you think a halfwit like bush got into yale? or how did a moron like romney get into cranbrook?

            you truly have shit for brains.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_B6RROC4IUESHT322QS5VJVPYRM Lynda

        Oh my Lord…another one is lose. Don’t let your hate and FEAR cloud your judgement.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charlie-Watkins/100001075495857 Charlie Watkins

        If Whites hadn’t of rigged Americas Public Education System to favor themselves we wouldn’t need quotas.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VHNHRPYYSNLVPAKY24F2UFT4XI Ray

    People have no idea how evil the Rethuglicans can be. I hope this slave education program in VA and FA will not stand.

    • onedonewong

      The fact that you don’t know the abbreviation for Florida makes you a prime candidate for this colored program

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Myers/100001512942781 Jim Myers

    In the early seventies, I was stationed in Europe. One of the people I worked with, (albeit at a distance of several hundred miles), was a Senior Master Sergeant named Williams.

    He declined a promotion to Chief Master Sergeant, and decided to retire.

    When I found out that he had declined the promotion, I called him and asked him why.

    He said he didn’t know if he got the promotion because he was the most qualified, or because he was black. (The Air Force was attempting to bring promotions into an equilibrium by advancing more minorities, who had been held back because of race, etc.)

    I always thought that the Air Force lost a great airman because of this.

    I can’t help but wonder how many others quit for the same reason.

    • onedonewong

      How many quit??? NONE he knew he wasn’t competitive and did the honorable thing. Something Colin Powell should ave learned rather than accept a token appointment

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charlie-Watkins/100001075495857 Charlie Watkins

        You live in a fantasy world, in total denial of reality. As long as the Republican Party rely on people like you to support them, they will lose.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charlie-Watkins/100001075495857 Charlie Watkins

      If the Airforce hadn’t of been denying people promotions because of race, there would have been no question that he got the promotion because of his qualifications.

  • a80a

    mr.pitts racism is alive and well not just in the south but all over the country,if you travel from new orleans ,to new york, from charlestown s c,to los angles, you will find 17,18 year old s in the 9th and 10th grades why is this?is the education system so flawed as to allow students to get this far in school and not be able to read or do simple calculations?I just recently had one of my grand children register to vote , the registeration document has a block to mark for your ethnic back ground, black, white, asian, hispanic, etc, what difference does that make,when you are registering to vote, unless it is racist. this is in the very red state of al.where all people are not created equal and are kept this way by , redistricting.

    • onedonewong

      Sounds like your grand child was too stupid to fill out the application without help

  • http://www.facebook.com/max.yoder.12 Max Yoder

    Generally I agree with you. I think that it would be more prudent to set the benchmarks for all kids, and provide the additional services (tutoring, etc.) to any child who needs the extra help (regardless of race) so we can successfully meet this benchmark. The old saying is that there are no bad students, just bad teachers. I do not think this is the case, but it reflects the problem. There are no bad students, just bad systems.

    • onedonewong

      Obviously you have never been in a classroom. You can’t make a silk purse out of a sows ear. Black achievement is an oxymoron. Until the colored population decides to act like human beings rather than animals in procreation they is O chance of them rising out of the ooooze

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Don-Ramsey/100001577804530 Don Ramsey

    Unfortunately, this type of attitude has existed for years. It has not been uncommon to read about test score requirements being lowered, and other requirements being eased when academic achievement was lacking. What matters most is the ability to show positive resultant numbers. It’s called: JOB SECURITY, both for the administrators and the politicians.

    • onedonewong

      No question about it barak obama is the poster child for this abomination

  • onedonewong

    Lowering the bar??/ Sorry the bar was lowered in 1965 with the implementation of quotas.
    Mainstreaming students with limited IQ’s has dumbed down the learning potential of everyone in the class.
    Because of behavioral problems with black students due to the lack of a 2 parent family they cause 80% of the discipline problems 60% of the expulsions. Teachers aren’t there to be their parents because who they have at home are too bust watching TV or smoking dope.
    Having a lower hurtle is a far better alternative than what currently is going on in schools where blacks and browns have to have special education tutors mentors etc taking away from the resources from students who are there to learn.
    A better alternative would be to have all blacks and browns enrolled in a prison learning center as they finish the 5th grade since that is where the majority will end up

    • rgrein

      Well, we can see by the shadow on your calendar it’s time for Mr. grouchybear to go back to hibernation. Are you sore because YOU made the last two elections about race and the black guy won? Can’t quite handle the idea that just maybe the best man won, can you?

      BTW, just in case you really are just ill informed IQ means even less than SAT scores. The concept of measuring something that hasn’t been defined well enough to measure is, well, laughable. SATs are marginally better, because they partially indicate college success. I won’t comment on condensing a multi faceted thing like intelligence into a single number, except it’s easy for stupid people to grasp.

      The High School my kids graduated out of is in the top 10 in the nation. You wouldn’t like it – all those black and brown kids competing against the ‘real americans’, messing up your stupid prejudices with inconvenient facts. Of course, we loved it because they got to meet and be friends with all kinds of different people.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charlie-Watkins/100001075495857 Charlie Watkins

      Segregation like your proposing is what caused this problem in the first place. Be warned, you are going to live to regret thinking that Black and Brown People have lower IQ’s.

    • mjw1952

      You must be really sad about the decline of the KKK over the last few decades. It would have been such a great outlet for you to reach out to like minded people.

      • onedonewong

        As opposed to naacp.laraza great brain trusts

  • rustacus21

    What our Public Education system lacks is autonomy: from political pressures & economic considerations. There is NO price too high to pay for quality, comprehensive education & our elections since 1976 have proven this point very distinctly. In 1980, President Carter presented us the difficult choices we would have to make in dealing w/extremely difficult issues. We, the people punted & chose an individual who made a career ‘acting’ like he knew what he was talking about; ‘acting’ like he cared; acting like he was in charge… all of which we now know, some 32 years later, was untrue. We are still wrestling w/the ‘tough’ choices, only b/c the Republican President B4 Reagan (Nixon) made it a point to prevent youngsters from being exposed to the Enlightenment concepts responsible for our nation – as well as his own demise as a criminal, unfit for office. As a result of ignoring our responsibilities as this Democracy’s owners, we behave as if we’re helpless, w/NCLB having an even greater crippling impact on the nation’s children than did Nixon’s decision to remove the civic’s curriculum from the nation’s High School’s, in 1970. Children need to explore. Be challenged. Move around the ‘monuments’ of education & our intellectual infrastructures. Our government. Our society. Our PEOPLES. Learning ‘testing’ does nothing for a child who already knows how to do ‘that’. But learning the subtleties of science, the adventures of math, the joy of rigorous physical exertion, & the discipline of intellectually engaging a teacher who isn’t afraid of the ‘challenge’ of student inquiry. This is what our education system & nation missed, in going for the superficial, transient, the phony. We have a chance to correct that, by impressing on a re-elected President & Senate majority, that their priority is the uplift of the element most important to this nation: its citizens. Education, being the key, can only do so w/out the handicap of conservative curses such as opportunity benefits only for the wealthy. Oh & the curse of NCLB…

  • KellyBoyle

    Didn’t the SAT change the way they score? Now for perfect score you need 1800, isn’t that right? Well anyhow it isn’t the same as before.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charlie-Watkins/100001075495857 Charlie Watkins

      What does changeing the test matter if the subject isn’t taught?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charlie-Watkins/100001075495857 Charlie Watkins

    I too scored what I thought was a high score on my SAT exam only to find that I was woefully behind my White counterparts. I barely made the cutoff point for entry into the college of my choice. You may be right, lowering the standards for entry into college may indeed cause some Minorities to have lower expectations for themselves. However I think that would be their own fault, I went from an “A” student in HS to a “D” student my first year in college. It didn’t cause me to lower my expectations, it showed me how far behind I was and how much harder I had to work to catch up. My concern is for the ones that didn’t make it. ( I barely made it myself). When I was growing up, partly because of segregation, Minority schools were inferior at all levels to White schools. When a Minority had to compete against a White for a college seat, they entered the battle with no ammo, and most times they lost. We were so far behind our White Counterpartsthat only a very few of us got a chance at a higher education. Our Education levels were so unequal that Minority kids didn’t stand a chance. Until Affirmative Action. You may decry Affirmative action, but it’s the only thing that enabled a lot of Minorities to get that Higher Education. Until ALL children are Educated to EQUAL levels, our colleges will need Affirmative Action. That day hasn’t come yet.

  • http://www.facebook.com/warren.nicholson.77 Warren Nicholson

    Leonard, If poor kids have more ground to cover to reach a certain standard then the smart thing to do is make sure they have a better vehical to travel the distance. Small classes, better paid teachers, new books and equipment would make more sense then changing the standards.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charlie-Watkins/100001075495857 Charlie Watkins

      Warren didn’t it occur to you that the vehicle you speak of was deliberatly sabotaged. My textbooks were 30 years older than yours, we had the worst Teachers in the System,and no equipment. This went on for decades. Changing the standards was the only quick solution to the problems created by this sabotage. Since Public Schooling is paid for with taxpayer money, they should all be equal, but they aren’t. As long as this is so, changeing the standards is the only way the playing field can be leveled.

  • alumahead

    If it’s a bad idea they’ll try it in Florida first. Everything Rick Scott touches turns to disaster.

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