New York education officials are poised to scrap a test designed to measure the reading and writing skills of people trying to become teachers, in part because an outsized percentage of black and Hispanic candidates were failing it.
Backers of the test say eliminating it could put weak teachers in classrooms. Critics of the examination said it is redundant and a poor predictor of who will succeed as a teacher.
Leaders of the education reform movement have complained for years about the caliber of students entering education schools and the quality of the instruction they receive there. A December 2016 study by the National Council on Teacher Quality found that 44 percent of the teacher preparation programs it surveyed accepted students from the bottom half of their high school classes.
The reformers believe tests like New York’s Academic Literacy Skills Test can serve to weed out aspiring teachers who aren’t strong students.
But the literacy test raised alarms from the beginning because just 46 percent of Hispanic test takers and 41 percent of black test takers passed it on the first try, compared with 64 percent of white candidates.
A federal judge ruled in 2015 that the test was not discriminatory, but faculty members at education schools say a test that screens out so many minorities is problematic.
“Having a white workforce really doesn’t match our student body anymore,” [Lesle] Soodak said.
This observation by a career educator inadvertently cuts through the bullshit underlying most education’s parade of social progress that flourishes at the expense of pragmatism and merit.
Public education has become a tool of cultural brainwashing and if anything threatens to detract from the social engineering goals of the Education Industrial Complex, it will be soundly expunged: such as objective tests which point out the innate inabilities of the favored groups. And in the world of education, apparently striving for a Monotone Teacher:Student Color Balance is of higher importance than ability and intelligence.
Many of the cold hard facts of education which manifest themselves in spite of the predominant dialogue can only be inferred but never spoken. Even those who support such strict educational guidelines can’t say them out loud. So they couch verbal expression and let those of us who value truth to infer for ourselves.
Kate Walsh, the president of National Council on Teacher Quality, which pushes for higher standards for teachers, said that blacks and Latinos don’t score as well as whites on the literacy test because of factors like poverty and the legacy of racism.
“There’s not a test in the country that doesn’t have disproportionate performance on the part of blacks and Latinos,” Walsh said.
But she said getting rid of the literacy test would be “a crying shame.”
The Education-Industrial Complex’s path to “excellence” is a disjointed union of conflicting theories and practices, a piecemeal confusing array of patchwork contributions and agendas that enfold upon themselves, creating a morass of counterproductive measures.
Several education professors told The Associated Press the test doesn’t measure anything that isn’t covered in other exams students must take, including subject matter certification tests, the SAT, the GRE and tests that are part of their coursework. Also, they said the test’s $131 price tag is too steep.
Michael Middleton, dean of the Hunter College School of Education in Manhattan, said that of the battery of assessments, “It’s the one that looks like it’s the least related to the actual work that teachers do day to day.”
Charles Sahm, the director of education policy at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank, is a strong supporter of raising the bar for teachers but not a fan of this particular literacy test.
Sahm took the $20 practice exam and thought it was a poorly designed test with multiple-choice questions that seemed to have more than one correct answer.
“I do agree that it’s not a great test,” Sahm said. “I found the reading comprehension section to be kind of infuriating. I only got 21 out of 40 right.”
No one learns or benefits, least of all students. But at least the Monotone Teacher:Student Color Balance is assured to thrive.