Plan 2020: How Alabama is Setting Its Children Up For Failure

Alabama has sanctioned academic evaluation of children based largely on their race and economic status. The plan, dubbed "Plan 2020," is said to be aiming for four major goals:

- Achievement and growth

- Gap closure

- An increase in the graduation rate

- Ensure that students graduate prepared for college/career

The system, however, is essentially state-backed racial segregation and another way of marginalizing children of color. Plan 2020 sets low standards for children of color. It piggybacks off of the Bush-era “No Child Left Behind” program by taking the existing subgroups it created and setting different standards for them. It thinks highly of children that are privileged or white, but sets the bar much lower if they’re not.

For example, under Alabama’s plan, the expected percentages to pass third grade math are as follows for 2013:

- 91.5% of white students

- 85.5% of Hispanic student

- 79% of black students 

The plan is shockingly racist and even plays off of awful stereotypes; the only ones expected to achieve higher than white students are Asian/Pacific Islander students, at 93.6%. This separate-but-equal division of students can in no way positively contribute to a child’s sense of self-worth, but will appear to be a solution to some. The lower the standards, the more the achievement gap will appear to be closing. However, the individual needs of children will not be taken care of and this separation will only subjugate those that are low-income and non-white.

The privileged societal implications of this alone are cause for outrage: if you are a non-white, lower-income, or special needs child, then Alabama has a line that it would like for you to stay behind. A line they’ve drawn for you based off of what’s comfortable for them, and it is likely where you will stay. There is no actual attendance to your needs, there is no concern for your personal and academic growth, only an artificial education plan that is reminding you every day that you’re not quite up to par.

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