State plan sets goals for students based on race, ethnicity

Published: Monday, October 22, 2012 at 10:20 AM.

“When you see the data every day and you touch the data every day, you realize those subgroups are a tremendous challenge, but on the other side I can see that people who don’t see it every day would be a little chagrined and frustrated… if it looked to them like we were setting one goal of our Caucasian kids and another for our minority kids, but realistically the journey is hard,” Tibbetts said. “We have to start from where we get the students.”

Under the new plan for reading and math proficiency, no group is expected to have a proficiency rate below 70 percent and no group is expected to reach 100 percent, yet. The ultimate goal, according to FLDOE officials, is to have all students at 100 percent proficiency by 2023.

Both Anderson and Tibbetts said they believed their districts could reach the state’s new goals, but that it would take a lot of effort and individualized instruction. And that, not looking at students by ethnicity, is the bigger issue here.

“I applaud efforts to address every child and their needs so they can all have an equal opportunity to succeed to their potential,” Anderson said. “But the thing that we forgot about is funding.”

Mandate after mandate has been handed down in recent years and districts have done what they can to rise to the challenge, but with so many mandates and so little money, future difficulties are looming.

Gone are the days of teaching to the middle. Now a teacher is required to teach to the needs of 20 individual students and it’s going to take more training, and more involvement from people outside the classroom to accomplish.

“We have to educate every student to their highest ability,” Tibbetts said. “And teachers, parents and business partners can join together to meet this goal.”

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