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

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Latino Parents in Chicago to Lead Testing Boycott?

What most parents don't know is that they have full legal authority to keep their children home, rather than subjecting them to the abusive tests that the numbskull politicians keep shoving on children and parents and schools.

While Wall Street, Congress, and the White House remain unaccountable to anyone for an unnecessary war, for illegal spying, for the mortgage crisis, for sanctioned torture, for the ecological disaster, for increasing poverty, for jobs exported, for crushing national debt, for no health care for 50 million Americans, for segregated schools, for crumbling national infrastructure, for unprecendented corporate-government corruption, and for oppression of the poor and minorities, they expect Latino children in Chicago to be accountable for tests they cannot read, just as they expect poor children in Camden to perform the same as the middle class children in Cherry Hill. Could any situation be more insane??

The only way parents are going to get any attention to their plight is to boycott the tests. Keep your children home, and this NCLB child abuse, along with the testocracy that it has inspired, will collapse like a house of cards. Parents truly have the power to end the madness.

The story from Chicago Sun-Times:
Angry Chicago Latino parents threatened Tuesday to keep their kids home on test day next month if state education officials insist on giving students who are still learning English an achievement test in English.

Facing threats of federal sanctions, state officials were ordered last October to give the same state tests native English speakers take to some 60,000 Illinois public school kids who haven’t yet mastered English.

During a news conference Tuesday at the Logan Square Neighborhood Association, about two dozen Latino parents charged that the test mandate is “unfair,’’ “anti-immigrant’’ and “anti-bilingual education.’’

They were joined by State Sen. Iris Martinez (D-Chicago), who said the federal government was “trying to take this program [bilingual education] away from us’’ by forcing children to take a test in English before they are fluent.

“This is a way of attacking children who don’t understand the language,’’ said Martinez, who is pushing a resolution to delay the test for a year.

Previously, Illinois kids in bilingual education programs for less than three years took an alternative state test in English.

But last October federal education officials ruled that test did not meet federal No Child Left Behind standards. They ordered Illinois bilingual education students who have been in public schools for more than a year to take the same tests native English speakers take, starting March 3.

Speaking through a Spanish-English translator, parent Erika Soto said her third-grade daughter is “very smart, but because of this test, she is going to be labeled a failure. So how is she going to feel?’’

Parents raised their hands in agreement Tuesday when asked if they would keep their children home rather than have them take the new test.

“We have to push them to pay attention and if this is the way to get them to pay attention, I will do it,’’ said Leticia Barrera, parent of a Monroe Elementary third grader.

Barrera’s daughter, Arely, said she did poorly on practice tests, and is worried she’ll tank the real thing.

“I’m scared,’’ said Arely, age 9. “I think I’m going to fail. I’m not prepared to do the test.’’ . . . .


  1. howdee...i posted a link to this story on ER and a commenter asked:

    Is there a specific provision of the law that allows parental/student boycott of the tests? Because schools are penalized if they don't have a 95% participation rate, are there any repercussions on the students or parents who boycott? or is it strictly a "school punishing" issue? What about truancy? [Members of a local civic group have asked these questions. (I suppose, as teachers, we would get in trouble for encouraging such actions.)]


  2. Good for them! The federal govt is completely ignoring the research on 2nd language acquisition, and if school districts would develop some backbone and stand up to the feds this kind of abuse would stop happening.