Community Call to Action to Stop Use of Race-Based Education Goals on Florida's Kids

Mar 27, 2014 6:00pm - 7:30pm

Community Call to Action to Stop Use of Race-Based Education Goals on Florida's Kids

Indian River parents, community leaders and education advocates address harm done by discriminatory goals in Florida's public schools

WHEN: Thursday, March 27, 2014, 6:00 p.m. -  7:30 pm EST

WHAT: Community call to action on the impact of race-based goals in Florida education policy

WHO: Indian River Juvenile Justice Council
American Civil Liberties Union
Southern Poverty Law Center

WHERE: The Gifford Youth Activity Center
4875 43rd Avenue
Vero Beach, FL

VERO BEACH, Fla. What happens when 1.4 million black and Hispanic public school students are told they will not do as well in school as white and Asian American students? Does telling teachers that children of color are not expected to perform affect how teachers teach?

The Indian River Juvenile Justice Council, Connected4Kids, American Civil Liberties Union and Southern Poverty Law Center have called advocates, community leaders, educators, parents, pastors and youth and all concerned citizens to join in understanding and shedding light on the little-known and harmful race-based goals in Florida education. The forum will be held this Thursday, March 27, at the Gifford Youth Activity Center in Vero Beach. Experts will discuss alarming state data and the results of a new national study released on March 21, 2014. Parents, students and teachers are invited to share their own experiences and insights.

Over a year ago, Florida quietly set lower academic goals for children of color, goals that are not only unsound, but perpetuate the stereotype that certain students are less capable than others based on nothing more than the color of their skin:

1)  Reading: The state sets a goal of 90 percent of Asian-American students and 88 percent of white students to be reading at grade level by 2018, but only 74 percent of African-American students and 81 percent of Hispanic students.

2)   Math: The state also expects 92 percent of Asian-American students and 86 percent of white students to perform at grade level by 2018, but only 74 percent of
African-American students and 80 percent of Hispanic students.

The meeting on Thursday is part of a statewide effort to mobilize community action in opposition to the use of race-based goals in Florida schools. Participants will be asked to sign a petition linking their voices to those of thousands across the state; contact legislators and the U.S. Department of Justice; and help build grass roots support for change.

To challenge the state, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County filed a federal civil rights complaint challenging that the Florida Department of Education is discriminating against black and Hispanic students by adopting a strategic plan that sets lower academic expectations for students of color. Since that complaint was filed, seventeen civil rights and social justice organizations have joined the list of advocates and stakeholders urging Florida to reverse its plan to adopt race-based achievement goals for public school students and calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate. To learn more about this complaint and SPLC work to reverse Floridas plan, visit
The Southern Poverty Law Center, based in Alabama with offices in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi is a nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society. For more information on SPLC's education and juvenile justice work visit


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