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Protesting alleged race discrimination against Florida students

Last week, civil activists and students gathered in Florida to ask Gov. Scott for changes that will hold Hispanic and black students to a higher academic standard. According to news reports, the Florida Department of Education expects only 74 percent of the state's black students to pass math tests at their grade level by the 2017 through 2018 school year. This is a sharp contrast to the lofty 92 percent goal for Florida's Asian students and is even lower than the rather minimal goal of 80 percent placed on Hispanic students.

Dream Defenders and the Southern Poverty Law Center arrived in Tallahassee to deliver a petition filled with 5,800 signatures in protest of Florida's alleged race discrimination when it comes to academic goals. An attorney with the Florida office of the Southern Poverty Law Center claims the reduced goals send certain students the message that Florida expects less of them than they do of students with a different colored skin.

Individuals who support alleged race-based goals that were adopted in 2012 claim that the lower percentages for black and Hispanic students are actually more rigorous. They argue that these groups have a lot of catching up to do making the goals even more demanding for certain students. According to the report, Florida's academic goals will change to 100 percent for all of Florida's students by 2022. In conjunction with the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County allegedly filed a civil rights complaint last year against Florida's Department of Education.

Regardless of the motives or the reasons, it is never okay to practice racial discrimination against anyone, especially America's student population. By expecting less from these young people, we are encouraging them to reach for less, which could have a dramatic impact on who they become in adulthood. Anyone suspecting racial discrimination should take immediate action by either reporting the situation to an authority or speaking with a discrimination attorney.

Source: wlrn.org, "Activists Protest Florida's Race-Based Education Goals" Sammy Mack, May. 13, 2014

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