Florida has figured out how to close the achievement gap in education (so they can win a barrel of bucks through Race To The Top, the US Dept of Ed’s risible “reform.”) I’m going to tell you how their boffo State Board of Education came up with a brilliant plan. But first, in case you’re in the dark, I need to clue you into what we mean by “achievement gap.” Basically, when you measure students’ progress in math, reading and the “less important” subjects, guess what you generally find? Rich, white and Asian kids from the burbs generally do better on standardized tests than African-American and Hispanic kids from underserved ‘hoods. Shocking, huh? These low scores pull down our whole country’s education ratings. Compared to Finland, we’re toast. So here’s how Florida’s imaginative SBOE is going to close the gap: segregate the races via expectations.
As stated on page 169 of their agenda: By 2018, 90% Asian students, 88% white students, 81% Hispanic students and 74% African-American students shall read at or above grade level. The numbers are similar for math goals. That’s right, Florida’s SBOE has discounted its expectations for African-Americans at 16% off the Asian expectation. Could you ask for more?
Now isn’t that a great idea? That’s like setting your bathroom scale’s zero to minus 35 pounds so every time you mount it, bingo! You’ve achieved your Ideal weight! Time for a banana split, huh?
Florida is also setting different expectations for kids based on what district they live in, whether they have learning disabilities or aren’t so great with the Eeengleesh language.
OMG, we have to run with this idea. Impose expectation segregation (expectregation? segretation?) across the US and we’re going to claw our way back to number one in the world in education again! Yo, Finland, better watch yer back! It’s gonna be a mad smackdown!
Perhaps there are some more variables we can measure to help close that achievement gap. Any ideas? I can think of a few we can segregate out in order to raise our scores. How ’bout..
Hangnails? Naah. Bad idea. Too hard to measure. We need rigorous standardization. OK…how ’bout…
…the height of the forehead…the distance between eyes…the width of the nose at its bridge…various angles of measurement of the jaw.
Hmmm. I’m getting a strange feeling that I’ve heard about this kind of measuring human physiology before. Give me a minute…I’ll think of it.
Blood tests? I failed mine.
Meanwhile, imagine all the ways we can save money using state-of-the-art technology. Facial recognition software, for instance. Just scan the student yearbook in order to assess kids. No bubble sheets required. And why stop with students? Just evaluate teachers with photo ID cards. No in-class observations necessary. Think of the money saved. I’m lovin’ this. Once we get the scores we can,
- Give the top kids great schools and throw alot of money at them.
- Keep the low expectation groups home, give them an old laptop with dial up internet and enroll them in a cyber charter school. They can sit in front of a screen all day and learn at their own pace. You don’t have to heat a building, hire a custodian or even a teacher. Use robots to grade them. With all the profits, we could invest more in prisons and surveillance technology. It all sounds so cool.
It’s just going to take some more think-tanking to figure out how to deal with students who don’t neatly fall into these segregated categories. I mean, how would you deal with a young Tiger Woods or Barack Obama?
I’m sure Florida’s SBOE can figure this out. Let the sunshine in.