"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, March 17, 2006

Saying Hell No to Racist Tests

In the 1920s, immigrant students across the country were given IQ tests in a language they couldn't even understand. Many of these students were labeled as retarded, and test scores were used to funnel hundreds of thousands of students into industrial education programs, where they learned the "skills" that would guarantee their future subservient positions in society.

The same thing is happening today with the racist high-stakes tests that are mandated by NCLB. Now if students are lucky, they must depend upon an oral interpretation of the test by a translator. But it is not happening in Sam Esmiol's class in Aspen, Colorado. Sam has just said, NO:

The Aspen School District cut the pay and hours of a Spanish teacher Tuesday after he refused to issue standardized tests because he said they don't test Latinos fairly.

Aspen Middle School teacher Sam Esmiol said in an e-mail that the Colorado Student Assessment Program tests "discriminate against Latino students and treat teachers unfairly." The CSAP tests are designed to gauge student progress in key subjects.

District Superintendent Diana Sirko on Wednesday said Esmiol, a first-year employee, is partially suspended.

Esmiol, 38, said his suspension is for morning test periods only; he continues to teach regular classes in the afternoon.

"I'm not trying to make a statement against the school district," Esmiol emphasized during a telephone interview Wednesday. He is, however, trying to alert the public about what he feels are inequities in the way the state administers the CSAP tests.

The format of the tests is unfair because "teachers are expected to translate multiple-choice questions to a group of Spanish-speaking students," he said in his e-mail. "This is unfair because some students will understand and answer the question while other students need more time and explanation. Individual students cannot move at their own pace."

He also said teachers are not adequately prepared to administer the tests.

"Oral translation is subjective," Esmiol said. "Students' test scores are influenced by the quality of the translation. These tests do not accurately represent their abilities."

Call or email Superintendent Sirko to ask her to reinstate Sam Esmiol: Phone:
(970) 925-3760

1 comment:

  1. i hate nclb!!!!!!!

    and i love your blog

    see more on the crises in education at: