Teaching authorities in the state of New York have dropped literacy tests for those wanting to become schoolteachers, saying that a “white workforce no longer suits the needs of the school population.”
Members of the New York state Board of Regents adopted a task force’s recommendation “to eliminate the literacy exam, known as the Academic Literacy Skills Test,” given to prospective teachers, because “an outsized percentage of black and Hispanic candidates were failing the test.”
According to the New York State Teacher Certification Examinations (NYSTCE) website, as of “March 14, 2017, candidates for teacher certification will no longer be required to take and pass the ALST for certification.”
The computer-based test consisted of “40 selected-response items, 2 focused-response items, and 1 extended-response item,” and candidates have to get a score of at least 520 in order to qualify.
The test was described by a senior official at the New York office of the Education Trust as a “12th grade-level assessment,” which is something a high school senior should be able to pass.
The test does not measure anything that is not covered in other exams students must take, including subject matter certification tests, the SAT, the GRE, and tests that are part of their coursework.
The test framework asserted that the purpose of the exam was to “demonstrate command of key ideas and details in the texts. The teacher determines what a text says explicitly and consistently makes logical inferences and draws conclusions based on evidence found in the text.”
Furthermore, the test would determine if the “teacher accurately interprets words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and thoroughly analyzes how specific word choices shape meaning and tone.”
The literacy test was among four assessments introduced in the 2013–2014 school year as part of an effort to raise the level of elementary and secondary school teaching in the state.
It was introduced after “years of complaints from education reformers about the caliber of students entering education schools and the quality of the instruction they received there.”
Media reported that a December 2016 study by the National Council on Teacher Quality found that 44 percent of the teacher-preparation programs it surveyed across the country accepted students from the bottom half of their high school classes.
The tests, meant to weed out unqualified candidates, also failed the majority of nonwhite test-takers—and this is where the “problem” with the test has originated.
Just 46 percent of Hispanic test-takers and 41 percent of black test-takers passed it on the first try, compared with 64 percent of white candidates.
Instead of accepting the results as being a perfectly predictable outcome of racially-based IQ scores, the race-denying liberals in charge of the system then accused the tests of some sort of mysterious “racial bias.”
Some of the nonwhites who failed the test took the NYSTCE to court claiming to be victims of “racial discrimination” in 2015. The federal court found—to no one’s surprise—that there was absolutely no evidence of any discrimination, and dismissed the suit.
Despite this, Leslie Soodak, a professor of education at Pace University, who served on the task force that examined the state’s teacher certification tests, maintained that a test that screens out so many nonwhites was “problematic,” and went on to admit the core of the problem this way:
“Having a white workforce really doesn’t match our student body anymore,” Soodak said.
Another liberal, Kate Walsh, who is president of the National Council on Teacher Quality, blamed the nonwhite failure rates on whites, saying that the reason why “blacks and Latinos don’t score as well as whites on the literacy test is because of various factors like poverty and the legacy of racism.”
Walsh however admitted that there was “not a test in the country that doesn’t have disproportionate performance on the part of blacks and Latinos.”