Yes, Please Lower Your Standards for My Child
When I go to a restaurant, I want the best service possible. Whether I drive by a window or sit at a white-cloth restaurant with a waiter clad in a vest and tie, I still expect the best service. I would think that most people would agree. Who would ask their beautician, manicurist, mechanic, daycare provider, barber or local Wal-Mart to lower the standard of service that they provide to customers? Apparently, school systems are now suggesting that lowering of standards is not only acceptable but necessary. Recently Florida and Virginia have proposed to lower their standardized test requirements for children of color and with disabilities in order to garner more ‘success’. Florida is suggesting that 90% of Asian American students, 88% of White students, 81% of Latino students and 74% of African American students are required to read at or above grade level. Math goals for these students are 92% for Asian American, 86 % for Whites, 80% for Hispanic and 74% for African American. Virginia is making similar suggestions proposing acceptable passing rates of 82% for Asian American students, 68% for Whites, 52% for Latinos, 45% for African American students and 33% for children with disabilities in reading and math. As a parent, I don’t want a single soul (teacher, school administrator, principal, superintendent or school board member) to lower their expectations of what my children can achieve. Moreover, it pains me deeply to think that one would consider doing so….Seriously? Who does that? While the proposed changes are for the school district, I also know that teachers can lower expectations without even being asked to do so. Given these two factors I considered this: When my oldest was challenged with math, we sought tutors, after school help with the teacher, of course we helped at home and this past summer we sent her to math camp (believe it or not). For a time she still would struggle to bring home a ‘C’. Now, in our house we are alright with a hard earned ‘C’. But not a ‘C’ earned by lack of motivation to do better. She’s much better now, due to a combination of maturity and a GREAT math teacher this year! But, overall we never believed nor expected that she couldn’t do the work. If the state I live in proposes the lowering of standardized test requirements for children of color and students with disabilities I have three responses ready: How dare a school/teacher/school district:
- Assume that my child could not do any better than average work?
- Assume that the family that she comes from would be satisfied with average work?
- Not have a conversation with me about when and how they decided that average work had become their expectation for my child?