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Scott Sends Mixed Messages Over Race-Based Education Goals

Governor Rick Scott says there should be high education standards for everyone. But  he remains mum on whether education officials should stick with plan that sets education goals based on race and ethnicity.

On Tuesday, Governor  Scott sent out a statement seeming to suggest he disagreed with state education officials over a five-year plan that outlines different learning expectations for for students. 

In the statement, Scott said, "the actions taken last week by the State Board of Education in adopting their strategic plan did not clearly articulate our shared commitment to fully close that achievement gap for all students, regardless of race, geography, gender or other circumstance."

The Governor went on to  say that the board should, "more completely incorporate this recognition into its strategic plan so that we can focus our efforts on helping every student to achieve the highest level of success.”

But when questioned on his position Thursday, Scott shied away from completely rejecting the plan:

“What I want the board of education to do is exactly what I’m doing. Focusing on making sure every child is proficient in the areas we care about.”  

The Governor’s comments come after an education advocacy group wrote a letter to the Federal government requesting a review of the state’s plan. Critics say setting goals by race is discriminatory. But proponents of the move say the state is demanding more from the students who are furthest behind.

About 28 other states have adopted a similar plan to closing the achievement gap as part of waivers to the federal No Child Left Behind Law.


For more news updates, follow Lynn Hatter on Twitter @HatterLynn

Follow @HatterLynn

Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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