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

Monday, October 02, 2006

Educational Genocide and Immigrant Testing

When will educators band together to make the only ethical choice--and say NO MORE!

Educators are using adjectives like "catastrophic" and nouns like "torture" to describe a new English testing requirement affecting immigrant students.

Opposition is growing to a statewide policy that will force students with limited English to take the same reading and writing exam as other children.

In districts with high numbers of immigrants, teachers are scrambling to get hundreds more students ready for January's English Language Arts test for grades three to eight. That exam had been optional for up to three years for children who were still coming up to speed in the language. Now the exemption lasts one year.

"It's catastrophic for the self-esteem of a child who has to sit and endure a test like this," said Eileen Santiago, principal of Thomas A. Edison Community School in Port Chester. "It's equivalent to educational genocide."

Critics of the change say they don't have a problem with testing; they just want the right test used at the right stage in a child's development. The New York state teachers union called the switch "educationally unsound" in a letter to state Education Commissioner Richard Mills. Port Chester and other districts are pushing for a reversal, and superintendents in Rockland County are talking about banding together. Some say the test only sets children up for failure.

The rest here.

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