Monday, January 21, 2008

Washingont OSPI Affirmative Action Training & WASL bias

Affirmative Action Officer Training
Here's another good one from the OSPI home page. IX/RCW 28A.640 and Affirmative Action Compliance Officer Training Friday, January 18, 2008, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.Friday, February 1, 2008, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

->>>Title IX Training 2008 (ppt) District Action Plans Worksheet (Word) Federal and State Nondiscrimination Laws Requirements (Word) Federal and State Nondiscrimination Laws Chart (Word) Affirmative Action Guidelines for Districts (pdf)

*** Comment: This is an example of using WASL in a biased manner, but it doesn't question if use of the WASL in itself has harmful effects on lower scoring groups, such as denying a high school diploma! Also doesn't comment if singling out of AfricanAmericans as low achievers in a training powerpoint is itself creating a discriminatory atmosphere. ***

Example 7:
Smithfield School District uses ability grouping to group students for instruction in reading, English, mathematics and science. Placements are based upon the reading scores from the WASL, and teacher recommendations. A group of African-American junior high school parents complained that more African-American students are being placed in lower ability groups (which do not receive high school credit) than white students. An investigation revealed that 21 out of 36 ability grouped courses were racially identifiable because they enrolled statistically significant disproportions of African-American or non-African-American students.

Is this a violation? Why?
Of what laws? Example 7:
Is this a violation? Yes Why? The use of criteria which result in racially biased classes is discriminatory. In this instance, it appears that the combination of WASL scores and teacher recommendations produce a discriminatory outcome. School personnel not only need to examine the basis for their placement of students, but also develop interventions for improving the WASL reading scores of African-American students of this is a major factor in placement.
Of what laws? Federal: Title VI; State: RCW 49.60.040

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