The phrase children are our future is grounded in the belief that we as adults have a responsibility to give them all of the opportunities needed to grow into strong, caring adults. Implied in this phrase is the need to speak encouraging words to children and help them to develop their full potential. For children of color words of encouragement can be hard to come by. Especially in schools where they are not expected to excel academically or in life. I am very sad to report that Florida schools have taken this ‘contempt’ for students of color a bit too far.
Do you know that a Florida policy tells students that the color of their skin — and not their school work — will determine their academic success?
Apparently in Florida, it is not enough to harbor deep-seeded feelings of racism and lower expectations for students of color. No, they went ahead and made it policy by setting lower expectations for students of color. So before a little Hispanic girl or African-American boy sets foot in a classroom, they have been written off! What incentives does a teacher have to go an extra mile to support students of color if the school system has basically said, ‘You aren’t good enough and we won’t even try to help you?’
FACTS ABOUT THE POLICY
- Ensures black and Latino children will have lower reading and math skills than whites.
- Lowered expectations will lead to lowered results.
- Violates the Civil Rights Act
The Southern Poverty Law Center, the national civil rights powerhouse with a long history of fighting for justice, has launched a petition calling for a change in this ridiculous and racist policy.
From their Facebook post, the SPLC says,
“Florida has set lower reading and math goals for all of its African-American and Latino children, who make up more than 50 percent of public school students. The State not only expects students of color to perform lower, but will now call their lower performance “success.”
All students deserve an equal opportunity to succeed. Robert Burns, a 14-year-old rising ninth-grader in Miami-Dade County, warns Florida not to underestimate him or other students of color:
“I’m more than what statistics or Florida thinks of me. When I found out they were going to set lower standards for me based on the color of my skin, I felt devastated. I don’t think it’s fair. I don’t think it’s right…If you expect 60, I’ll give you 60. If you shoot for the moon, I’ll land on the stars.”
Please click below to sign the petition to Governor Scott asking for equal goals for all public school students! We must send our children the right message about education!
Governor Rick Scott:
We, the undersigned, call on Governor Rick Scott to set equal academic goals for all children — regardless of their race — in Florida’s public schools.
Florida’s State Board of Education Strategic Plan 2012-2018, 11 (October 2012) discriminates against Florida public school children on the basis of race and national origin and compromises students’ educational opportunities through its race-based achievement goals.
This matter is crucial and we urge Governor Scott to act now. All children can and will achieve their goals if given an equal opportunity.
As I wrote this post I couldn’t help but think of the Whitney Houston song, Greatest Love of All. Remember the lyrics? I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside. Give them a sense of pride to make it easier. Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be!
Watch the video below after you take a stand for Florida’s children and sign the petition today!