Categorized | commentary, news

NY: Illiteracy Now OK for Teachers

By Bill Korach


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.




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2 Responses to “NY: Illiteracy Now OK for Teachers”

  1. Janet says:

    Time for parents to step up & remember they are their children’s first teachers ! Agreeing to engage with or fight against “Regents – City Hall” and those who hold limiting beliefs, wastes precious time for developing students. Some ‘in power’ want a compliant, uninformed, and undereducated populace…Time for ‘American Can Do’ spirit to take charge and provide exceptional education for $20k per student. Let the $ follow the student….to Barney Schools, homeschools, Great Heart Schools…many proven providers know how to inspire and challenge for excellence.

  2. Mary says:

    This is another example of stupidity. In a country which is now at a very low 28th percentile on the worldwide education list, one would expect that the standards should become higher. Instead, to pacify those who have been through the same school system as everyone else and never reached the literacy they should have reached, this will merely pull down our educational system even more. It is no wonder so many parents are clamoring for an improvement in our educational system. I am not being prejudicial. I was a child of immigrants as well, and we spoke only that language at home. My father was a blue collar worker and didn’t make much money. My mother even worked at home sewing for factories. I didn’t want to be always at the bottom with hand-me-down or home-sewn clothing, and I decided to study –while many of my friends whined that they were discriminated against, that they didn’t have the same privileges, etc. etc. and fooled around. Having married young and helped by working and then raising my children and working at home, I went back to school at age 38 with morning and afternoon classes without disturbing the home routine with my children. I came home for lunch when they did, returned to school and came back again at 3:30 p.m. when they returned. The smelly bus took 30 minutes each way — 4 times a day. Before going, knowing I might not pass the math test, I studied that math (which I hated, not know then that I had struggled for years with discalcula and really didn’t see the numbers correctly. But I passed with a very good score, studying first the easier books until I could understand everything. I graduated and obtained my first teaching job at 40, and worked and continued school until I earned 4 degrees. So, how can I condone those who want to get away with less? Let them work harder to pass the literacy tests to prove they can do it. It will be an incentive. Stop patronizing them as if they cannot make the grade so let’s give the poor things a chance. No. Those who want to do something right will try harder, and the standards will be higher. If you let people who are not ready to teach be school teachers, what kind of models will children have? What kind of message are we sending?


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