Education

New York To Scrap Literacy Test For Teachers In The Name Of Diversity

Prospective teachers in New York will likely no longer have to pass a basic reading and writing literacy exam, the Associated Press is reporting.

The state’s Board of Regents is expected to ditch the Academic Literacy Skills Test in part because black and Hispanic teaching candidates struggled to pass the exam, according to the AP.

Just 41 percent of black teaching candidates and 46 percent of Hispanics passed the test on their first try, compared to 64 percent of white candidates.

The multiple choice exam is meant to ensure high standards among prospective teachers, which many teaching preparation programs have struggled to do.

A December 2016 study by the National Council on Teacher Quality found that 44 percent of teaching programs “cannot ensure that most of their incoming candidates are among the top half of college students.”

A state task force recommended the board scrap the exam because of the number of black and hispanic candidates struggling to pass it. The board is expected to adopt the recommendations on Monday.

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¬†“We want high standards, without a doubt. Not every given test is going to get us there,” Pace University professor Leslie Soodak told the AP.

Soodak was a member of the task force that advocated abandoning literacy tests for teachers.

“Having a white workforce really doesn’t match our student body anymore,” Soodak added.

Opponents to the exam unsuccessfully attempted to have it struck down in court in 2015, arguing that it was discriminatory because racial minorities performed worse on the test than white candidates. A federal judge declined to strike it down, however.

 

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