Florida school criticized for singling out Black students in assembly over low-test scores

Bunnell Elementary selected only Black children for a meeting regarding poor standardized test performance

Miami Times Staff Report Aug 23, 2023 

Reprinted By Imanche Sunday Adiyoh March 26, 2024

At Bunnell Elementary in Flagler County, controversy is brewing over a meeting that saw Black fourth and fifth-grade students singled out to discuss methods to improve low standardized test scores. The decision to select students for this meeting was based purely on race, sparking outrage among parents and raising concerns about the implications for the involved children.

The meeting showcased a PowerPoint presentation titled “AA Presentation,” highlighting the underperformance of Black students on standardized assessments for the last three years. The presentation indicated that only 32% of Black students had scored at Level 3 or above, while the goal was set at 41%. As a remedy, the school proposed that each student should “commit to earning at least a Level 3 or higher on all standardized assessments; concentrate on passing all curriculum-based assessments with at least a 75% or higher,” as part of their roadmap to success.

One of the most controversial parts of the meeting was the introduction of the F.A.S.T. Challenge. This initiative encouraged students to compete against each other for better scores, with the winner being awarded a meal from McDonald’s. While competition can sometimes foster growth, parents expressed concerns about potential bullying arising from such a competitive environment. Danielle Brown, a concerned parent of a fourth-grader at Bunnell Elementary, shared her fears, stating, “I just feel like you are kind of setting her up to be in a situation to become a victim of bullying.”

Nichole Consolazio, another parent, voiced her distress over the selection criteria, which was based entirely on appearance. “This was solely based off of color,” Consolazio remarked. Her son, primarily an A’s and B’s student, was among those selected. “They did not go based off a school record of [if the] child is Black or white or Hispanic, they went solely based off of the color of his skin,” she added.

Furthermore, the communication, or lack thereof, surrounding this meeting has exacerbated parents’ concerns. The school, known for its frequent updates to parents, did not send any communication about this meeting either before or after it took place. “They contact us at least three times a week,” said Danielle Brown. “This is the one time that they haven’t.” Flagler Interim Superintendent LaShakia Moore addressed the situation, emphasizing that the intent was not malicious. “In speaking with Mrs. Evensen, it is clear there was no malice intended in planning this student outreach. However, sometimes, when you try to think ‘outside the box,’ you forget why the box is there,” Moore stated. She assured that moving forward, the district would prioritize parental involvement and transparency

One thought on “Florida school criticized for singling out Black students in assembly over low-test scores

  • March 26, 2024 at 5:44 am

    Targeting individuals of color for prejudice is a longstanding tradition in certain educational institutions in the United States. This pernicious manifestation of prejudice sustains a framework of inequity that yields extensive ramifications for both individuals and communities. The persistence of racial bias in educational environments highlights the pressing necessity for comprehensive reform, despite ongoing endeavors to foster diversity and inclusivity. As we face this alarming truth, it is crucial that we collectively address and remove the fundamental systems that enable such prejudice to endure. Every person is entitled to equitable treatment, honor, and esteem, irrespective of their ethnicity or heritage. The achievement of a more just and equal society for all necessitates the direct confrontation and resolution of existing imbalances.


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