By Bill Korach www.thereportcard.org
The New York State Board of Regents, which supervises public education, has decided it will no longer be necessary for would-be teachers to pass an Academic Literacy Skills Test. The reason? The test was producing racially disparate results: Only 41 percent of black candidates and 46 percent of Hispanic candidates had passed the exam on their first attempt, compared to 64 percent of white candidates.
With a Department of Education study putting the number of white public school teachers at over 80 percent with a student body hovering around 50 percent white, advocating for a diverse teaching staff is understandable. If rectifying this imbalance is a priority for the Board of Regents, its members should ensure their methods do not diminish the quality of their educators. They are doing the opposite.
The New York Post spoke with The New York City Parents union President who deplored the decision. “I think it’s absolutely outrageous,” said Mona Davids, president of the New York City Parents Union. “Our children are already barely literate. The majority of them aren’t reading at grade level as it is. To dumb down the standards for incoming teachers with the ludicrous excuse to diversify the teaching pool is completely absurd.”
Davids argued that black and Latino students in struggling districts across the city ultimately pay the price for thinning standards.
“We already have ineffective teachers in our highest-needs neighborhoods,” she said. “These are black and Latino neighborhoods. It’s in these schools where you want to put teachers who can’t pass a basic English test?”
But the Regents staunchly backed the test’s removal during their meeting Monday and denied that standards were compromised.
Here is one more example that the education establishment cares far more about jobs and benefits than serving the communities. Who ever heard of allowing illiterate teachers to teach? The New York Regents in their heyday presided over one of the finest educational systems in the country, but that was over 50 years ago. Between the teachers union and the Regents, New York public schools are a perfect storm of failure. Considering that NY public schools get about $20,000 per student, the failure is an even greater disgrace.