Just a few weeks after a similar move by Virginia was met with controversy, Florida has also adopted achievement standards based on race and ethnicity.

Approved this week by the Florida Board of Education, the new race-based standards affect all 2.6 million students that attend the state’s 3,629 public schools. The mandate stipulates that by 2018, 90 percent of Asian students, 88 percent of white students, 81 percent of Hispanic students and 74 percent of black students are to be reading at or above grade level. The state also wants 86 percent of white students, 92 percent of Asians, 80 percent of Hispanics and 74 percent of blacks to be at or above their math grade level, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

The new goals are required under Florida’s waiver from No Child Left Behind. Many expressed skepticism over the race-based targets.

To expect less from one demographic and more from another is just a little off-base,” Juan Lopez, magnet coordinator at John F. Kennedy Middle School in Riviera Beach, told the Palm Beach Post. The school's black student population is about 88 percent. “Our kids, although they come from different socioeconomic backgrounds, they still have the ability to learn. To dumb down the expectations for one group, that seems a little unfair.”

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush previously said such measures would send a “devastating message” that black and Hispanic students weren’t as capable as others. Palm Beach County School Board Vice-Chair Debra Robinson tells the Post that she's "somewhere between complete and utter disgust and anger and disappointment with humanity."

Florida officials, however, say the opposite, noting that the standards are meant to acknowledge current performance and make a plan for improvement.

According to author and presidential professor emeritus at UCLA Jeannie Oakes, eliminating traditional tracking methods that measure performance based on race is essential to facilitating comparable success among different races.

“Once we put students in groups, we give them very different opportunities to learn — with strong patterns of inequality across teachers, experience, and competence," Oakes says. "There was this pervasive view that Latino and African American kids can’t measure up in a way that more affluent or white kids can and we can’t do anything about it.”

In addition to race, the new achievement standards in Florida also set goals for children with disabilities and those still learning English, in addition to those who come from low-income households.

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • 15. Sturgis Charter Public School

    Located in Hyannis, Mass., <a href="http://www.sturgischarterschool.org/" target="_hplink">"Sturgis Charter Public School is dedicated to an "International Baccalaureate (IB) for All"</a> philosophy, preparing high school students for higher education in a supportive learning environment. Sturgis provides each student a rigorous world-class educational program, encouraging academic achievement, intellectual confidence, and personal growth."

  • 14. Connecticut International Baccalaureate Academy

    Located in East Hartford, Conn., <a href="http://www.cibanet.org/page.cfm?p=4136" target="_hplink">"The Connecticut IB Academy,</a> a public high school with worldwide academic standards, connects a rigorous, pre-university curriculum to the world beyond the classroom by demonstrating the inter-relationships among the academic disciplines, by promoting international understanding, and by establishing a balance among academic, artistic, and social activities in order to produce responsible, ethical, thoughtful and informed citizens who are prepared to be global leaders.

  • 13. Green Valley High School

    Located in Henderson, Nev., <a href="http://greenvalleyhs.org//" target="_hplink">Green Valley High School</a> believes that "the purpose of education is to provide experiences which will encourage and assist students to achieve their potential and to assume their responsibilities as members of society. It is the obligation of the school to instill in students positive attitudes toward growth, learning, leadership, and creativity, as well as ensure their full intellectual and character development."

  • 12. Dublin High School

    Located in Dublin, Calif., <a href="http://www.dublinusd.org/site/default.aspx?domainid=132" target="_hplink">Dublin High School</a> "is a four-time California Distinguished School. It is the only comprehensive 9-12 public high school in the Dublin Unified School District."

  • 11. San Marcos High School

    Located in San Marcos, Calif., <a href="http://www.smusd.org/smhs" target="_hplink">San Marcos High School,</a> the flagship high school in the San Marcos Unified School District, "currently serves a population of 2041 students from west San Marcos and communities south of the 78 freeway.... San Marcos students connect with their campus by participating in over thirty clubs and organizations and a full range of athletics and performing arts options."

  • 10. High Technology High School

    Located in Lincroft, N.J., <a href="http://www.hths.mcvsd.org/" target="_hplink">High Technology High School</a> is "a specialized school concentrating on the disciplines of science, mathematics, and technology.... Since its founding in 1991, the application and admission process has become increasingly competitive. Seventy-five students are selected each year from a pool of over three hundred outstanding applicants. This totals to approximately 265 students from throughout Monmouth County."

  • 9. International School

    Located in Bellevue, Wash., the<a href="http://www.bsd405.org/international/" target="_hplink"> International School</a> "offers the finest educational experience to all of its students, one which is unsurpassed in preparing them intellectually, socially, creatively, physically, and emotionally, so that they are inspired to become lifelong learners and realize their dreams in the world at large."

  • 8. Pacific Collegiate School

    Located in Santa Cruz, Calif., <a href="http://www.pacificcollegiate.com/" target="_hplink">Pacific Collegiate School's</a> vision is to "offer any student the same quality of education offered by the most academically distinguished schools in California.... Pacific Collegiate School will emphasize international, cross- cultural, and technological education in order to prepare graduates for life in the 21st Century. Pacific Collegiate students will be introduced to the rich variety of world cultures and become fluent in at least one foreign language. They will become proficient in the basic information technologies essential for cultural literacy in the 21st Century."

  • 7. Oxford Academy

    Located in Cypress, Calif., <a href="http://www.auhsd.us/Oxford/" target="_hplink">Oxford Academy's</a> mission is "to prepare students to be ethically and academically focused for entrance into college/university. OA is a seventh through twelfth grade college preparatory public school that opened in September of 1998. Recognized as a California Distinguished School, OA draws students from the entire attendance area of the Anaheim Union High School District."

  • 6. BASIS Tucson

    Located in Tucson, Ariz., <a href="https://www.basisschools.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=127&Itemid=189" target="_hplink">BASIS Tucson</a> is the flagship BASIS School. "BASIS seeks to provide an accelerated liberal arts education at internationally competitive levels for all students. The rigorous college preparatory education at BASIS readies students for the competitive admissions process, helps them become eligible for scholarships, prepares them to prosper at top colleges, and enriches their lives."

  • 5. International Academy

    Located in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., the <a href="http://iatoday.org/" target="_hplink">International Academy</a> "is a public, tuition-free high school of choice for students of 17 Oakland County school districts collaborating in consortium with university and business partners. Commencing with 9th grade, it provides a unique blend of rigorous academic standards, practical and career-related learning as well as personal development opportunities."

  • 4. University High School

    Located in Tucson, Ariz.,<a href="http://edweb.tusd.k12.az.us/UHS/index.htm" target="_hplink"> University High School's</a> vision is to "be the premiere regional college preparatory school that serves academically focused and intellectually gifted students by providing a rigorous and challenging curriculum and by offering programs that reflect the diverse backgrounds, talents and cultures of our students within a supportive school wide community."

  • 3. School of Science and Engineering Magnet

    Located in Dallas, Texas, the <a href="http://semmagnetschool.org/" target="_hplink">Science and Engineering Magnet High School</a> "is a learning community established to provide students with a rigorous college preparatory, academic and technical program relating to the sciences, mathematics and engineering fields."

  • 2. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology

    Located in Alexandria, Va., <a href="http://www.tjhsst.edu/" target="_hplink">Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology's</a> mission is "to provide students a challenging learning environment focused on math, science, and technology, to inspire joy at the prospect of discovery, and to foster a culture of innovation based on ethical behavior and the shared interests of humanity."

  • 1. School for the Talented and Gifted

    Located in Dallas, Texas, the <a href="http://teacherweb.com/TX/tagmagnet/main/sdhp1.aspx" target="_hplink">School for the Talented and Gifted's</a> mission is "to provide an environment in which the unique worth, dignity, and abilities of each individual are not only recognized but cultivated and celebrated as well. We wish to provide an educational experience that empowers highly capable students to interact with their intellectual peers in academic, creative, aesthetic, and social endeavors in order to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow and to become life-long learners, responsible citizens, and contributors to the betterment of society as a whole in an ever-changing world."