Boston; Why can't blacks and hispanic teachers pass the state licensing exams? Please see link?

Question:http://www.boston.com/news/local/article...

Answers:
**"If you take the achievement gap of high school students, you can just project it forward into college and into the teaching ranks," said Nick Balasalle, an educational consultant.**

I'd say it starts on the elementary level rather than the high school level, but either way, that's a VERY big part of it. There's an achievement gap for many reasons- lack of parental support, cultural & lingual differences, and teacher perspective are big ones. Heck, I even have a current colleague who scoffed at the idea that one of our Hmong students might have been a high reader. I taught a black student who everyone said was very low before I got her- she ended up being one of the best readers in the grade level. Perception of what minority students are capable of IS a problem. If they lack the support and expectations they deserve at an early age, it sets the stage for the rest of their education. It stands to reason that this would carry over into college.

As for the grammatical aspect of it, the cultural and lingual differences are probably the culprit. Based on some of the glaring mistakes other teachers on Answers have (not on this particular question, but generally), I can see the grammatical piece being a stumbling block for people of ALL ethnicities.

The article also had people suggesting that the reading passages and questions were culturally biased. I buy into that. The standardized tests our students are given are biased as well, so I can imagine the problem wouldn't just go away simply because the people being tested are adults.

**Rather than scrap teacher testing, the state should focus on the quality of teaching colleges, many said.**

While I think it's great the state is holding teachers accountable, this standardized blanket assessment is just as stupid and backwards as it is for students. Perhaps scrapping the test IS the answer...But I also think the state should focus on the quality of teaching colleges. I don't feel that my teaching college did an adequate job in preparing us for teaching. Don't get me wrong, I feel competent in my own abilities, but I think that stems a lot from myself rather than from what I learned in college. There needs to be MUCH more focus on the actual content we're expected to teach. If a prospective teacher cannot properly write a research paper, for example, then it's a good indication that he/she might not be ready (or ever suitable) for teaching. Rather than requiring more from the prospective teacher, the college will simply pass the person through. They've got their money, right?

Wow, I went off on a pretty jaded rant there. :) My vote for the actual answer is that the test is culturally biased. The problem isn't just the test though- it's in our (white society)perspective of other cultures and the educational system itself. If the educational system is failing to properly educate minorities as students, then these students don't stand a chance when they become adults and enter into the educational system as a teacher.
I'm not from Boston, nor can I actually answer your question. I don't think anyone really knows the answer to that. All I can say is that I would hope the person teaching my children would know basic grammar and reading and writing skills. You have to have those to succeed in college, so why are they failing them on a test?
For the writing portion - I wonder about the reliability of the scorers.

Who are the reader/scorers on the writing portion of the exam?
How many exams do they read per hour?
What are the criteria for the scores? What's the baseline?

For the multiple-choice exams - again - reliability.
Who writes the test?
Has it been evaluated for bias?
This is a tough question and an interesting article. I teach in Illinois in a diverse community outside of Chicago. My school is about 50% Hispanic and the other 50% is made up of about equal parts of White, Black, Asian, and Indian students. This coming year we will finally have two Hispanic teachers where there has been none. We have one black teacher. We have close to 550 students in a K-5 school. Our state tests are hell. When I got my original two certificates all I needed was the degree and a semester of student teaching. When I went for another MS in 1998 I had to first take a basic skills test - much like the ACT test, which at my age was really rough. I studied like crazy because my grammar knowledge was awful. I passed. Then I had to take 5 different tests in special ed to be certified as a Learning Behavior Specialist I. It was rough too but I studied diligently. I guess what I'm saying is that black and hispanic students probably lack the basic English education that many of us who went to middle class white schools got. Though I knew my limitations going into it, and being 48 years old at the time I really had to study hard to remember all the math and the English parts of speech --- and I passed. Someone who really knows what ethnic barriers there are needs to look at these tests to see how blacks and hispanics can be helped. It's sad really because all of our kids need role models within their own cultures.
I am not quite sure what you are asking. Unless I was one of the people who didn't pass, I wouldn't be able to answer. One thing that I do know, is that I passed the test for my state.
Jateef-the people who don't pass the test are not getting a license, so there is nothing to worry about.

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