Richmond School board member calls SOL tests "racist" - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Richmond School board member calls SOL tests "racist"

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

A Richmond School Board member called for an end to SOL tests Tuesday saying the tests are "racist." 

Board member Glen Sturtevant said city students shouldn't take the test until its new grading system changes.

"If we need to say that our students are not going to take the SOLs this year, then I think we need to consider that," said Sturtevant. "To have a system like this in Virginia in 2013 is unacceptable."

Sturtevant wants to take the drastic measure, because he said Richmond should have no part in the new state grading system for the Standards of Learning tests.

The Virginia Department of Education's goal is for 69 percent of white students to pass this year's SOL test compared to only 51 percent of black students.

"Under these new standards, an African-American child will be held to a lower standard than an Asian child or a white child," said Sturtevant.

The Department of Education defended the grading system saying is trying to close the achievement gap. The goal is to have all students performing at the same level in six years.

"If you look at the requirements, the lowest performing students are required to make the greatest gains year to year," said Charles Pyle, the Department of Education Spokesman. "We think these kids can do it, they have waited long enough."

This year's benchmark is based on last year's test scores. 68 percent of white students passed the new SOL test compared to 47 percent of black students.

According to Pyle, it's now up to the school system to see those numbers increase.

The Richmond School Board said Monday night that it plans to meet with the Virginia Department of Education in the next couple of weeks to figure out what changes, if any, can be made to the grading scale.

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