Friday, March 24, 2000

NAACP wants tests scrapped

The Associated Press

        CLEVELAND — The city's NAACP chapter is urging state legislators to scrap Ohio proficiency tests.

        The civil rights group weighed in after weeks of attacks on the exams by parents, educators and a growing number of legislators, including three state senators who asked for a temporary halt to the testing.

        Chapter President George L. Forbes said he thinks the standardized exams are biased against poor children from urban areas. He said there are five Cleveland elementary and middle schools where no children passed all five sections of the test last year.

        “You can't tell me all of these kids are dumb,” Mr. Forbes said Wednesday. He said there “is something inherently wrong” with the tests.

        One state senator has suggested the state repeal a law making passage of the fourth-grade reading exam a requirement for advancing to fifth grade starting in the 2001-02 school year.

        State education officials defend the test, citing Cleveland schools that have posted double-digit increases in test scores. They also contend a commission appointed by Gov. Bob Taft will address concerns about the test.

        Rep. James Trakas, R-Independence, said he was not ready to abolish the test but did favor looking into complaints.

        “It takes years of study to determine if the tests are working.” he said.


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