The Washington Policy Center is raising concern about federal school testing guidelines that differ for students depending on the color of their skin.
According to the agency, the Superintendent of Public Instruction used students' race as a factor in setting state, district and school level academic achievement goals for state tests in math and reading.
“I don’t think a lot of people know about this,” said Liv Finne, director of the Center for Education.
As an extension of “No Child Left Behind” all students are required to be proficient in all subjects by next year. In Washington state, students in third through eighth grade are tested in math and reading each year. High school students are once.
But after digging deep into state policy that took effect last summer, Finne says she discovered something ethically wrong.
“If you are a mom of a Hispanic child, your school is being told that your child has less of a chance of graduating from high school than a white child,” she said.
Finne claims black, Hispanic and Native American students on average can score up to 10 percent less on the assessments than white or Asian students.
“There’s no reason to think that a child because of his or her race will achieve less,” said Finne.
Mai Le, a senior at Garfield High School, believes any student is capable of achieving high scores.
“There’s no limitations on what you can become, it just depends on you,” said Le.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn was unavailable for comment but publicly has stated, “We have high expectations for all of our students.”
He went on to say, “I’ll keep working so every student can go as far as their talents and abilities will take them.”
“This is America, everyone should have an equal opportunity in everything,” said Le.
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction calls the Washington Policy Center’s take on the assessment misleading. It claims federal requirements don’t have an impact on how each student is taught or what’s expected of them.