Recently the state of Florida announced a new benchmark for reading and math performance. According to these new standards, 90 percent of Asian-American students compared to 74 percent of African Americans are expected to achieve this performance level.
The news did not sit well with some parents and for good reasons.
Perhaps the authorities didn’t mean to establish discriminatory criteria, but it appears that it is either biased against African Americans or preferential toward Asian Americans. In the past, higher expectations haven’t served Asian-American students well.
In several cases, universities reduced their share of scholarships and financial assistance to Asian Americans because of their preferential status.
It doesn’t mean that schools should not have new measures, but authorities should include rewards for success and remedial options for failing to meet these expectations.
We are proud that Asian-American students are expected to perform at a higher level. In fact, most Asian-American parents try to instill this expectation in their children daily. Last week, the Miami-Dade County Asian American Advisory Board held its annual scholarship award ceremony. We recognize the importance of these positive role models and believed their recognition would send a positive message.
We recommend that bright students, whether Asian American, African American, white or Hispanic, should be used to tutor those students falling behind, and for that they should be given additional credits that would enable them to earn some benefits in college admissions or financial assistance.
The difference in the new benchmark should be less stressed and team-work should be highlighted to encourage fellowship and team-work among all students.
Adam Tavakoly, chair, Asian American Advisory Board, Miami