ERROR
Main Error Mesage Here
More detailed message would go here to provide context for the user and how to proceed
ERROR
Main Error Mesage Here
More detailed message would go here to provide context for the user and how to proceed

City Journal

search
Close Nav

An F on the Regents

from the magazine

An F on the Regents

Winter 1997
Education
New York
Infrastructure and energy

No habla ingles? Not to worry. You might still do just fine on most of New York's Regents exams, the tests in core academic disciplines that determine which of the state's high school students receive prestigious Regents diplomas. For years, the State Board of Education has only offered the exams in English. No longer. Beginning this fall, students will be able to show their mastery of biology, history, and other fields in several languages, including Spanish, Chinese, and Creole. (All students will still have to pass a standard test of English in order to receive the diploma.)


The board believes that English-only subject exams place large numbers of immigrant students at a disadvantage. But of course, if they don't speak, read, and write English well enough to take their exams in English, they won't be able to hold jobs or take college courses that require English fluency either. By ignoring the real problem that New York's public schools fail to teach foreign-born students English well enough to take their tests in it-the board simply compounds the students' likelihood of failure.


Hispanic students, the largest non-English-speaking group in the state school system, suffer most from such accommodation, the capstone on the mistaken approach that characterizes so much of their education in the public schools. A 1994 study by the New York City Board of Education found that Hispanic children often languished in bilingual education programs six years or more, receiving instruction primarily in their native language, instead of being taught the proficiency in English they need for success. It's little wonder that such children can't pass exams in English.

Up Next
from the magazine

The New Polemics of Race

Linda Chavez

Contact

Send a question or comment using the form below. This message may be routed through support staff.

Saved!
Close