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VA Black Caucus concerned with standards in education facing minority students

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RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) -- Virginia was granted a waiver saying state schools will not be penalized if students fail to meet the standards of the 'No Child Left Behind' mandate.  While some consider it a relief, others worry that lowering the bar will leave minority students behind.

"Every single group should have the same opportunity as everyone," said parent Henriette Ndo.  "The fact that they expect some groups not to succeed, they're not going to put an effort to help."

The concern is centered around the state's plan that would lower the pass rates, and possibly lower expectations.

"If you're going to help each child get his or her potential then you have to have flexibility," said Senator Henry Marsh.

Virginia's new standards would require 82 percent of Asian students to pass the state math exam, but only 52 percent of Hispanics and only 45 percent of Blacks would be required to pass the same test.

"If you tell a student or a teacher that we expect little, you're going to get a little," said Senator Marsh.  "I think everybody agrees that we have to raise the expectations."

On Tuesday in a closed-door meeting, the Virginia Black Caucus discussed student expectations with representatives from the Department of Education.

"We heard their concerns, we agreed to stay in touch and we're going to re-visit some of these issues," said Department of Education representative David Foster.  "We all want to see the same high expectations."

The Virginia Board of Education is planning to revisit the issue surrounding passing rates during its September 27 meeting.