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Florida Adopts Academic Achievement Standards Based On Race, Ethnicity, Echoes Virginia

Florida Adopts Academic Achievement Standards Based On Race, Ethnicity, Echoes Virginia

Just a few weeks after a similar move by Virginia was met with controversy, Florida has also adopted achievement standards based on race and ethnicity.

Approved this week by the Florida Board of Education, the new race-based standards affect all 2.6 million students that attend the state’s 3,629 public schools. The mandate stipulates that by 2018, 90 percent of Asian students, 88 percent of white students, 81 percent of Hispanic students and 74 percent of black students are to be reading at or above grade level. The state also wants 86 percent of white students, 92 percent of Asians, 80 percent of Hispanics and 74 percent of blacks to be at or above their math grade level, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

The new goals are required under Florida’s waiver from No Child Left Behind. Many expressed skepticism over the race-based targets.

“To expect less from one demographic and more from another is just a little off-base,” Juan Lopez, magnet coordinator at John F. Kennedy Middle School in Riviera Beach, told the Palm Beach Post. The school’s black student population is about 88 percent. “Our kids, although they come from different socioeconomic backgrounds, they still have the ability to learn. To dumb down the expectations for one group, that seems a little unfair.”

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush previously said such measures would send a “devastating message” that black and Hispanic students weren’t as capable as others. Palm Beach County School Board Vice-Chair Debra Robinson tells the Post that she’s “somewhere between complete and utter disgust and anger and disappointment with humanity.”

Florida officials, however, say the opposite, noting that the standards are meant to acknowledge current performance and make a plan for improvement.

According to author and presidential professor emeritus at UCLA Jeannie Oakes, eliminating traditional tracking methods that measure performance based on race is essential to facilitating comparable success among different races.

“Once we put students in groups, we give them very different opportunities to learn — with strong patterns of inequality across teachers, experience, and competence,” Oakes says. “There was this pervasive view that Latino and African American kids can’t measure up in a way that more affluent or white kids can and we can’t do anything about it.”SOURCE

In Harvard essay, young Michelle Obama argued for race-based faculty hiring


In Harvard essay, young Michelle Obama argued for race-based faculty hiring

By Charles Johnson

BOSTON, United States: Democratic National Convention keynote speaker Barack Obama and his wife Michelle wave after he spoke 27 July, 2004, in Boston, Massachusetts.

During her third and final year at Harvard Law School, first lady Michelle Obama — then named Michelle Robinson — penned an article for the newsletter of Harvard’s Black Law Students Association (BLSA), arguing that Harvard and its students were perpetuating “racist and sexist stereotypes” by not intentionally hiring minority and female law professors on the basis of their sex or skin color.

The 1988 essay, titled “Minority and Women Law Professors: A Comparison of Teaching Styles,” ran in a special edition of the BLSA Memo. The future first lady justified her demands for more black and female law school faculty by attacking the “traditional model,” in which law students were educated through the Socratic method.

She also opposed the traditional meritocratic hiring principle, where professors with better legal pedigrees were more often hired, arguing that it limited the success of women and blacks.

“The faculty’s decision to distrust and ignore non-traditional qualities in choosing and tenuring law professors merely reinforces racist and sexist stereotypes,” Mrs. Obama wrote, ”which, in turn, serve to legitimize students’ tendencies to distrust certain types of teaching that do not resemble the traditional images.”

In particular, she condemned the Harvard law professor ideal made famous in John Osborn’s 1970 book “The Paper Chase” and Scott Turow’s 1977 autobiographical novel “One-L,” for promoting the view that law school faculty should be “cold, callous, domineering, old, white men who took pleasure in engaging their students in humiliating and often brutal discourse.” She faulted her fellow students for being “racist” and “sexist” and buying into that particular “image” of a proper law school education.

Instead, she praised the teaching of several professors who didn’t use the Socratic method, including the far-left academics Martha Minow and Charles Ogletree. Minow’s father, Newton Minow, later recruited Michelle and Barack Obama to Sidley Austin, the Chicago law firm where the two met. Ogletree, who mentored both Michelle and Barack at Harvard, admitted during the 2008 election that he had concealed a videotape of Obama praising “critical race theory” architect Derrick Bell.

Michelle also gushed praise for critical race theory itself — the view that law is an instrument of the powerful against the powerless, rather than an effort to seek justice.
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“Now, unlike before, students are being made to see how issues of class, race, and sex are relevant to questions of law,” she wrote. These issues, she said, were “being presented by people who possess the enthusiasm, sensitivity, and ingenuity necessary to bring excitement back into the classroom.”

Her choice of language bore clear similarities to the “empathy” test Barack Obama promised to use when deciding on nominees for the judiciary. If the advances of the critical race movement were stymied, Michelle worried, this “new breed of law professors will be systematically excluded” from Harvard.

During the final weeks before she received her Harvard law degree, Mrs. Obama participated in a sit-in protest along with about 50 other BLSA members. In what The New York Times called an “occupation,” the future lawyers stormed the office of Dean James Vorenberg on May 10, 1988 with a list of 12 demands.

Carrying signs demanding an “end to racism,” they occupied the dean’s office for 24 hours and demanded that Harvard Law School hire 20 female or minority professors in the next four years as tenured, or tenure-track, professors. Seven of those professors, they insisted, must be black — and four of those seven female.

They also demanded tenure for Ogletree and a deanship for Bell, and dictated a new plan for curriculum diversity that would include a required course on racial issues.

During the Obama presidency, the same Mrs. Obama has reportedly helped the president pick appointees to the federal courts. Along with Cassandra Butts — a former White House deputy counsel and another Derrick Bell disciple — the first lady reportedly helped Obama decide on the “wise Latina” Sonia Sotomayor as a Supreme Court nominee.

President Obama also named Robert Wilkins, the president of the Harvard BLSA in 1988 and organizer of the occupation of the dean’s office, to a federal circuit judgeship in the District of Columbia.

“Diversity in this country is a good thing,” Mrs. Obama told MSNBC when asked about Sotomayor, “whether it’s gender or race or socio-economic background or religion. You know, that’s the world I come from.”

Read more: SOURCE