Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Chicago Parents protest test in English

The Chicago Sun-Times reports:
Angry Chicago Latino parents threatened Tuesday to keep their kids home on test day next month if state education officials insist on giving students who are still learning English an achievement test in English.

Facing threats of federal sanctions, state officials were ordered last October to give the same state tests native English speakers take to some 60,000 Illinois public school kids who haven’t yet mastered English.

During a news conference Tuesday at the Logan Square Neighborhood Association, about two dozen Latino parents charged that the test mandate is “unfair,’’ “anti-immigrant’’ and “anti-bilingual education.’’

They were joined by State Sen. Iris Martinez (D-Chicago), who said the federal government was “trying to take this program [bilingual education] away from us’’ by forcing children to take a test in English before they are fluent.

“This is a way of attacking children who don’t understand the language,’’ said Martinez, who is pushing a resolution to delay the test for a year.

Previously, Illinois kids in bilingual education programs for less than three years took an alternative state test in English.

But last October federal education officials ruled that test did not meet federal No Child Left Behind standards. They ordered Illinois bilingual education students who have been in public schools for more than a year to take the same tests native English speakers take, starting March 3.

Speaking through a Spanish-English translator, parent Erika Soto said her third-grade daughter is “very smart, but because of this test, she is going to be labeled a failure. So how is she going to feel?’’

Parents raised their hands in agreement Tuesday when asked if they would keep their children home rather than have them take the new test.

“We have to push them to pay attention and if this is the way to get them to pay attention, I will do it,’’ said Leticia Barrera, parent of a Monroe Elementary third grader.
Some people in Chicago aren't that fond of English.Imagine that.