Testing and Terror

Document Sample
Testing and Terror Powered By Docstoc
					2                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Real Change
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          October 25 - 31, 2006

                                                                                        Testing and Terror
                                                   The high-stakes testing of the WASL further marginalizes disadvantaged students
Let’s be clear: one                            By DINORAH FLORES                              2004-2005 passing percentages prove                                  What are some of the consequences
                                                      Guest Writer                            as much. In the Math portion of the                             for not passing the WASL? With so
    way the WASL                                                                              test, 59 percent of Asian students and                          many students failing, the pressure this

   is unfair is that               his Friday, the Seattle Young Peo-                         56 percent of white students passed,                            test builds up in students could lead to
                                   ple’s Project will stage a haunted                         respectively. By contrast, only 31                              the high school dropout rate increasing,
     private school                house showing the frightening                              percent of American Indian students                             which would prevent students from
students, who are              implications of the Washington state                           passed, 26 percent of Hispanic/Latino                           pursuing their desired and needed
    predominantly              Assessment of Student Learning,                                students passed, and 23 percent of the                          education and, in many cases, lead
                               which will be a high school graduation                         Black community passed. The scores                              them into the criminal justice system.
       white, don’t            requirement starting with the class of                         keep decreasing: 30 percent of low-                             Why? Without the proper education or
   have to take it,            2008. The “WASL Haunted High” will                             income youth passed, 13 percent of                              job credentials, the fallback support for
                               use gory drama to explain how the                              English Language Learners passed,                               young people will be the streets. As a
    whereas public             exam puts low-income students and                              and 7 percent of special-education                              result, our communities will be denied
  school students,             students of color in a line of failure that                    students passed the WASL.                                       the opportunity to better themselves
    who are more-              will have a huge negative effect on the                            These low scores take many by                               and the people in them. This will only
                               rest of their lives — and on society as                        surprise, but they shouldn’t. To begin                          continue the ongoing experience of
 often low-income              a whole.                                                       with, the WASL is not translated to                             limitations and oppression in low-in-
  and of color, do.                The event is a kick-off for our Edu-                       any other language, making it difficult                          come communities and communities of
                               cation Justice Campaign. To prevent                            for ELL students to understand and                              color. If the WASL stays as a high school
                               the education system from punishing                            be able to pass the test. Also, some                            graduation requirement, it will become
                               low-income students and students of                            of the cultural references made in the                          a terror not just for the students taking
                               color for its own failings, our campaign                       test do not take into consideration all                         it, but for the whole future.
                               seeks to decouple the WASL from                                the cultures each student represents.                                Something must be done. By de-
                               graduation requirements.                                       Also, public schools in which low-in-                           coupling the WASL from graduation
                                   Let’s be clear: one way the WASL is                        come students and students of color                             requirements, we can expand the
                               unfair is that private school students,                        predominate receive less funding and                            opportunities of all students. In par-
                               who are predominantly white, don’t                             resources than predominantly wealthy,                           ticular, it would mean that low-income
                               have to take it, whereas public school                         white public schools.                                           students and students of color are given
                               students, who are more often                                                                                                               a chance to succeed. For
                               low-income and of color, do.                                                                                                               young people, school should
                               The WASL is incredibly dif-                                                                                                                be a place of growth, not a
                               ficult for all those required                                                                                                               house of horrors. ■
                               to take it. Last year, only 42
                               percent of all 10th-graders                                                                                                                                                                     Dinorah Flores is
                               across the state passed all                                                                                                                                                                     a 12th-grader at
                               three sections of the test.                                                                                                                    [Scary]                                          the Center School
                               That indicates that 58 percent                                                                                                                 WASL Haunted Highschool                          and a volunteer
                               of the class of 2008 won’t                                                                                                                     Fri., Oct. 27, 7-10 p.m.                         with Seattle Young
                               graduate. Yet wealthy stu-                                                                                                                     Youngstown Cultural Arts                         People’s Project, a
                               dents and white students can                                                                                                                   Center, 4408 Delridge Way                        youth-led commu-
                               avoid the obstacle, whereas                                                                                                                    SW. Free for youth under 19;                     nity organization.
                               low-income students and                                                                                                                        $5 suggested donation other-                     For more informa-
                               students of color can’t.                                                                                                                       wise. Information: call (206)                    tion, go to www.
                                   The way the WASL is ad-                                                                                                                    860-9606 or              
                               ministered is also unfair. The

                                                                                                                                   Who Is Real Change?
                                                              Board of Directors                                            Social Justice; Rick Simonson, Elliott Bay Book Co.; Pat         Advertising Sales Representative
                                                              Don Brown (President), Faith Wilder (VP), Erica Wiley         Simpson, Interfaith Task Force on Homelessness; Hilary           Candi Wilvang
                                                              (VP), Anne Bailey (Treasurer), Rebecca Kavoussi (Secre-       Stern, CASA Latina; Robby Stern, WA State Labor Council;         Interns
Real Change is published weekly and is sold by the poor       tary), Wes Browning, John Denooyer, Stephan Fjelstad,         Peter Steinbrueck, Seattle City Council; Silja Talvi, journal-
                                                                                                                                                                                             Danina Garcia, Kevin Himeda, Billy Joyce, Lindsay Tree
  and homeless of Seattle. Vendors receive 65¢ of the         Katherine Jakielski, Margaret Kae, Mandy Levenberg,           ist/essayist; Jim Theofelis, Mockingbird Society; Marilyn
                $1.00 paid for this paper.                    Gabriela Quintana, JoJo Tran                                  Watkins, Economic Opportunity Institute; Bruce Wirth,            Editorial Committee
                    Mission Statement:                                                                                      KBCS; Alice Woldt, WA Association of Churches                    Artis, Mary Andrews, Wes Browning, Stan Burriss,
Real Change exists to create opportunity and a voice for      Advisory Board                                                                                                                 Morrie Condit, Lisa Easter, Anitra Freeman, José
low-income people while taking action to end homeless-        Affiliations listed for identification purposes only: Sherman   Staff                                                            Ornelas, F. Roberts, Ruanda
                     ness and poverty.                        Alexie, Poet, Writer, Filmmaker; Nancy Amidei, UW             Executive Director
 The Real Change Homeless Empowerment Project is a            School of Social Work; Kenan Block, Media Consultant;         Timothy Harris                                                   Contributing Writers
 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Programs include the         David Bloom, Rauschenbusch Center for Spirit and              Director of Advocacy and Organizing                              Maria Antonova, Amy Besunder, Dena Burke, Tom Cogbill,
 Real Change newspaper, the StreetWrites peer support         Action; Kari Connor, Wongdoody; Darnell Dent, Com-            Rachael Myers                                                    J. Jacob Edel, Justin Ellis, Kimburly Ervin, Jess Grant, Lester
   group for homeless writers, the Homeless Speakers          munity Health Plan of Washington; Jim Diers, Author;                                                                           Gray, Austin Haskell, Jessica Knapp, Megan Lee, Robin Lind-
Bureau, and the First things First organizing project. All    Lynne Dodson, Jobs with Justice; John Fox, Seattle            Editor
                                                                                                                            Adam Hyla                                                        ley, Emma Quinn, Amy Roe, Donna Stefanik, Diana Wurn
donations support these programs and are tax-deductible       Displacement Coalition; Larry Gossett, King County
               to the full extent of the law.                 Councilmember, Dist. 10; Jon Gould, Children’s Alliance;      Staff Reporters                                                  Photographers, Graphic Artists
                      On the Web at                           Andy Himes, Poetry in Wartime; Bill Hobson, Downtown          Cydney Gillis, Rosette Royale
                                                              Emergency Service Center; Naomi Ishisaka, Colors NW;                                                                           Ginny Banks, Ken Dean, Terry Divyak, Tom Douglass,
                                                                                     Production Manager
                                                              Sally Kinney, Interfaith Task Force on Homelessness;                                                                           Sean Ellingson, Suzanna Finley, George Hickey,
             Email                                                                                    Rosette Royale
                                                              Sharon Lee, Low Income Housing Institute; Paul Loeb,                                                                           Sherry Loeser, Luke McGuff, Justin Mills, Jude
                    ISSN 1085-729X
                                                              Writer; Sarah Luthens, SEAMEC/; Roberto           Director of Operations                                           O’Reilley, Katia Roberts, Elliot Stoller, Mark Sullo
Real Change is a member of the North American Street
                                                              Maestas, El Centro de la Raza; Paola Maranan, Children’s      Craig Kirkpatrick                                                Volunteers This Issue
  Newspaper Association, the International Network
                                                              Alliance; Joe Martin, Pike Market Medical Clinic; Vince       Director of Development                                          Artis, Nick Cottrell, Tige DeCoster, Sara Dooling, Sandra
  of Street Papers, and the Greater Seattle Business
                                                              Matulionis, United Way of King County; Carlos Marentes,                                                                        Enger, Jeanette Fassbind, Susanne Forham, Rick Garrett,
                     Association.                                                                                           Joe Bushek
                                                              Committee for General Amnesty and Social Justice; Al
                                                                                                                            Volunteer Coordinator and Office Manager                          Valerie Garvida, Nadine Gioia, Ana Haberman, Armando
                                                              Poole, City of Seattle Survival Services; Wilson Edward
                                                              Reed, PhD, Seattle University; Trisha Ready, Richard Hugo     Brooke Kempner                                                   Levia, Brianna Morgan, Dan Otto, Loretta Pirozzi, Beth
                                                              House; Aiko Schaefer, Statewide Poverty Action Network;                                                                        Roberts, Rachel Smith, Sara Sprigg, Carrie Wicks
                                                                                                                            Vendor Services
                                                              Peter Schnurman, Retired; K.L. Shannon, Racial Disparity      Robert Hansen, Margaret Kae
                                                              Project; Bob Siegal, National Lawyers Guild/Center for

Shared By: