Florida education board sets reading goals based on race



ORLANDO, Fla. - The Florida State Board of Education is setting student reading goals for 2018 -- by race and ethnicity.

Percentages released by the board show 74 percent of black students are expected to be reading at grade level, compared to 81 percent of Hispanic students, 88 percent of Asian students, and 90 percent of white students by 2018.

It's causing controversy for parents who can't believe some children will be expected to do better than others based just on the color of their skin.

Amos Lane, grandfather of a local student, said he was shocked.

"What we should try to do is make things equal as best as possible," Lane said.

Chrstina Pomarole, a parent, said race should not be the only determination.

"When you take in other factors like socioeconomic level, I think that that has a huge impact on a person's ability to excel when it comes to something like reading," Pomarole said.

But this latest measure only factors in race.

Florida officials said the targets are not meant to set lower expectations for some kids.

Instead, they said it takes into account current levels and outlines a path for every student.

The board said the numbers are based on a student performance equation.

Whatever the reason for the new goals, parents feel students deserve better.

"Our country is doing our race thing for so many years, we forgot it is not about a race, it's about a person's capabilities," Lane said.

The board set other goals, as well.

Right now, only 57 percent of all Florida students read at their grade level. By 2018, the board is raising the bar -- hoping 83 percent of students are reading at grade level.