>Here is a message an op-ed piece from Gene Garcia.
>Susan Ohanian
>Below is an op-ed piece of mine that is scheduled to be published in the
>SF Chronicle tomorrow--could I ask a favor and have you distribute it
>to your  e-mail network. I will be publishing similar op-ed pieces
>in Spanish language and Chinese language papers. I am deeply concerned that
>the new state accountability system does no more that further disadvantage <br>
>non-English speaking students, immigrant students and the state as a
>whole.Thanks for your consideration of this request.
>Gene Garcia

>California Accountability System will Disadvantage Limited English
>Proficient Students and their Schools

We are now ranking schools in an accountability effort that is fatally
>flawed and seems to be driven by a &quot;reform by shame attitude. I
>recently felt it necessary to resign my position as a member of the state
>Public School
>Accountability Advisory Committee, an entity formed by last year's legislative
>action aimed at establishing a comprehensive plan for school level
>accountability in the state.
>Appointed by Superintendent Delaine Eastin, I was optimistic that this
>entity, in its role as advisory to the State Board of Education, could assist
>implementing the legislature's and Governor's intent to have a reliable, valid
>and fair
>set of assessments and a system that would nurture, promote and hold
>public schools for the academic achievement of all of California's public
>school students. The first act of this Committee was to adopt a set of
>guidelines that was
>aligned with this mission indicating that the Committee must not
>recommend any assessment or process that was not valid or fair.

>This Fall, we considered the issue of including the SAT 9 academic
>achievement test scores of limited English proficient students in the
Academic Performance Index, an index developed for each school based on
>the SAT 9 scores of its student. This index would be used in the
>accountability system to make decisions regarding rewards or sanctions for the
>school. The issue was important since some 25% (close to 1.5 million) of
>California's  students fall into this category. The Committee labored with the
>decisions to include or exclude test score for limited English proficient
>Specifically, should these students be excluded for a prescribed period
>of years, to allow for English development; should they be excluded
>altogether since the SAT 9 achievement test was not psychometrically
>neither meeting prescribed reliability or validity standards for this
>population; or, should they be included so as to not leave these
>students out of the realm of the accountability system. Of critical
>importance in the committee's deliberations was an analysis on last
>year's SAT 9 scores comparing the response patterns of limited English
>proficient students and non-limited English proficient students. The comparison
indicated that students that were limited in their English proficiency
>were scoring at the chance level five to six times more than students who were
>not limited in their English proficiency. In short, English language
>proficiency seemed to be directly related to the test scores of these students,
>substantially placing them at a disadvantage compared to their English
>peers.This specific California based STAT 9 data combined with the psychometric
concerns led the committee to recommend to the State Board of Education
>that the scores for these students be excluded from the Academic Performance
>Index until a reliable, valid and fair assessment could be put in place.
>Such an assessment is presently being developed.The State Board of Education
>ignored the committee's recommendation. Specifically, the Board's adopted
>plan for mandatory assessment of 25% of the state's students through
inappropriate means does not address the issue of implementing a fair
accountability policy. These students who are inappropriately assessed
>willscore poorly. Such scores will go into
>their permanent records.

The scores will confuse the students, their parents
>and the public. Moreover, the Academic Performance Index is in a
;high stakes accountability system that can result in moderate to severe
programmatic sanctions and acquisitions of financial rewards for schools.
>As schools are assessed for their academic performance through this index,
>those schools with large numbers of; limited English proficient
>students-and that is a significant number in this state-will be judged by a
>ruler; that is academically suspect and potentially disadvantageous.
>Unfortunately, this
>produces a system that is fatally flawed.

>There is only one thing left to do now that the system is implemented
>with such a flaw: Parents and guardians of non-English speaking students
>should use their right under the law to boycott this year's round of state
>testing. They should not add to the injustices thrust on them by the State
>through this new form of reform by shame.;

>Eugene E. Garcia, Professor and Dean, Graduate School of Education,
>Tolman Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720,
>E mail:[log in to unmask], Phone:510-643-6644,