Should student pass-rate goals be set by race?

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RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) -- Parents, school administrators and concerned community members gathered inside the James Monroe building in downtown Richmond to address the Virginia Board of Education on its proposed pass rate goals.

"Virginia attempted to create expectations for our children that are separate and unequal," said parent Cheryl Poe.

Some of those in attendance during Thursday's review believe the state's plan aims low for some students--specifically minorities.

"That's tragic and cruel in our environment because the demands actually go in the wrong direction," said concerned citizen Rev. Ben Campbell.

Earlier this year, the state was granted a waiver from 'No Child Left Behind,' meaning state schools would not be penalized if students failed to meet the standards of the mandate. 

Instead the state came up with its own new standards which 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. 

Board members said although the starting points among student subgroups differ, the end result in six years is the same --  have a 73 percent pass rate for all students.

"Our goal is to ensure that all students are held to the same standards," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia Wright.

Today's meeting was the first review and the board plans to reconvene in October for action.

Stay with CBS 6 and for continuing cover of this story.