Teachers’ unions are cheering the news that New York state education officials have killed off a literacy test which successfully revealed that almost a third of candidate teachers cannot meet eight-grade standards.
Members of the New York state Board of Regents voted on Monday to eliminate the literacy exam which revealed the prospective teachers’ poor reading and writing skills, saying the controversial test is “flawed” and that it puts Latino and African-American teacher applicants at an unfair disadvantage.
Advocates of testing said the decision to kill the literacy test will lower teaching standards, especially for minority students in the city.
“Eliminating the [test just] to increase the number of unqualified, unprepared Black and Latino prospective teachers is the most racist and destructive action taken under the guise of diversifying NY’s teachers,” said Mona Davids, President of the New York City Parents Union, adding:
We, Black and Latino parents, do not want teachers who cannot pass a basic literacy test. We don’t care about the color or race of the teacher, we want highly effective teachers teaching our children.
“It’s alarming because we’ve now abandoned or watered down the teacher evaluation process, and now we’re lowering the bar for entry certification as well,” said Charles Sahm, Director of Education policy at the Conservative think tank Manhattan Institute.
“It is deeply disappointing that the Regents and State Education Department are lowering the bar for teacher literacy skills and astonishing that there has been virtually no public discussion of the potential impact on student learning,” said Ian Rosenblum, the Executive Director of Education Trust-New York, a non-profit advocacy organization that promotes high academic achievement for students of color and low-income students.
“We should be focusing on ensuring that prospective teachers receive the support they need in teacher preparation programs rather than weakening the teacher certification standards that can help ensure students have equitable access to strong educators,” he said.
The Academic Literacy Skills Test, one of the four exams aspiring teachers in New York must take to become certified, was introduced in 2013 to ensure teachers had strong language skills and to assess the ability to master the Common Core standards for English. Considered the hardest exam out of the four, it found that 32 percent of aspiring teachers statewide failed the test — even though it was passed by teachers who just met eighth-grade English standards.
The exam began to draw controversy when data from the State Education Department showed that only 41 percent of black test-takers and 46 percent of Hispanic test-takers passed on the first try, compared to 64 percent of white test takers. This disparate result also cut the pool of eligible teaching candidates by 20 percent in just one year.
A Manhattan Federal District Court judge in 2015 ruled that the ALST exam didn’t discriminate against minorities.
This messed up education system (run by liberals across the country) has once again thrown our children aside for the benefit of teachers and diversity. The system already can't educate most children fully enough so they can qualify to teach when they're adults - so let's perpetuate that. Soon we'll have no teachers who can pass an 8th grade literacy test.