March 20th, 2009


No Child Left Behind--unless you refuse to prove your proficiency in English when you speak it perfe

I'm a couple of days behind on LJ, but on Tuesday stoneself alerted us to a story unfolding in the Midwest of an Asian-American student who has spoken English fluently all her conversational life--more than enough to maintain a 3.9 GPA in her classes as a senior at Storm Lake High school in English-only Iowa; she has refused to take an English proficiency exam multiple times because she finds it racist and demeaning. She is being asked to take the test because on her school registration she indicated that she speaks Lao at home; her parents speak little English. She speaks two languages, which, although advantageous elsewhere, can be a liability in the US.

School officials are falling all over themselves to make an example of her, including jeopardizing her chances of getting university scholarships, which is beyond punitive and moving into the realm of egregiously destructive of a young woman's potential. Dennis Baron looks at the story a little more analytically, shows us an example question from the test and notes that the Rules-At-All-Costs administration in Storm Lake isn't really following the rules at all but is being absurdly inflexible because.. why? That's the question. What's your answer?

APA for Progress provides some contact information for school administrators in Storm Lake. You know what to do.