Monday, October 26, 2015

Standardized Tests are a Form of Racial Profiling - Living in Dialogue

Standardized Tests are a Form of Racial Profiling - Living in Dialogue:

Standardized Tests are a Form of Racial Profiling

By Christine Brigid Malsbary.
Several days before writing this blog post, I visited a 12th grade class that I have been following since the beginning of their 11th grade year. I am a researcher and I study how education policy affects teachers and students in their daily lives. The youth I work with are all immigrants, students of color, and learning English as a second language. I sat next to student I didn’t recognize and asked the teacher who he was. The teacher explained the boy was simply in the class to try to pass the NY Regents’ exam—the test all high schoolers in New York state have to take in order to graduate from high school.
The boy had all the credits necessary for high school graduation, but hadn’t passed the Regents’ exams in math and English. Without passing scores, youth do not receive a high school diploma, their only other option to study for GREs. Now in his fifth year in the high school, the teachers had created a specialized plan for the young man so he only had to attend math and English classes to prep for the Regents’. “He isn’t going to graduate,” the teacher whispered to me. The teacher continued, “he is going to age out of high school in January when he turns 21. He won’t be able to get his scores up in time, his English is too weak. He has only been in the country for three years, and we think he may have some special needs as well.”
I asked the teacher what would happen to a young man of color and English Learner with no high school diploma in a neoliberal city like New York with a shrinking middle class. “I don’t know,” he said. “It breaks my heart. And guess who is going to have to tell him that he won’t graduate? Me. The policy makers won’t tell him. The people who are in the classroom with these kids have to deliver the news. After they moved here, got to class, did the work and learned English … that they won’t graduate. And then they evaluate me based on my students’ test scores when my kids barely speak English … it is not fair. The system is designed for these kids to fail.”
Of the 22 young people in the class of students I have been studying for 14 months, 22 will be attempt the Standardized Tests are a Form of Racial Profiling - Living in Dialogue: