The Language of Denial: No (Immigrant) Child Left Unobstructed

Hat-tip ricardomath. -- GH Originally posted 2009-03-18 23:45:36 -0500.  Bumped by carol. I missed it yesterday and I was afraid someone else may have overlooked it also.

What the hell are we teaching our children?

More precisely, what the hell are we teaching our children about hypocrisy, about expectations, about fair and equal treatment under the law, about life and about rote idiocy?

From the Sioux City Journal:

Student rejects 'demeaning' test, is suspended
High achiever faces possible expulsion

By Russ Oechslin, Journal correspondent | Posted: Thursday, March 05, 2009

STORM LAKE, Iowa -- Lori Phanachone is a member of the National Honor Society, has a 3.9 grade point average and ranks seventh in the senior class of about 119 at Storm Lake High School.

But school officials have told her she is considered to be illiterate based on her refusal to satisfactorily complete the English Language Development Assessment, a test she says is demeaning and racist.

Why? Because the test is for students who have English as their second language.

The school district's curriculum coordinator, Lori Porsche, said taking the test is mandatory because Phanachone indicated on her school registration that English was not the first language spoken in her home. Her parents are Laotian and still speak little English.

Phanachone, who was born in California and lived in upstate New York before moving to Storm Lake with her family in 2006, said she has never been enrolled in any English Language Learning or English as a Second Language program.

The girl has As in her speech and English composition classes. A 3.9 GPA. Even Administrators in other Iowa school districts appear to wonder why she has to take the test:

Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency-8 Title III consultant Kathy Brenny, who has an office in Storm Lake, explained that students are identified as English language learners or English as a Second Language students when they enroll. But she said, "If they are proficient, then we don't have to give the test."


In Davenport, where 300 to 400 of the public school system's 15,000 students are enrolled in English as a Second Language programs, Dawn Anderson-Rascher, director of assessment equity and record services, said that based on what she understood of the situation, Phanachone wouldn't meet the criteria for taking the test.

I'm at a loss to explain the sense of frustration and anger I feel at this outrageous situation, so again I ask:

What the hell are we teaching our children?

What the hell do we expect of them?

What kind of example are we setting that we have such idiotic rules in place and no one of sufficient mental capacity to make a rather straightforward judgement call so as to avoid wasting time and money?

You need to go read the entire article -- there's a statement made to the girl by the assistant principal that just pegged my outrage meter, very close to the beginning of the article.

This is not the America that our founding documents outlined. This is not an example of the type of nation that our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, our long battles over equality and civil rights and our wars for freedom and democracy have been about. This is exemplary of what our nation has become -- or has been becoming -- when myopic, misanthropic, arrogant and xenophobic "morans" leave their national heritage at the door and proceed to ape the trappings of an advanced, evolved culture without employing even a single shred of human thought to the process.

This type of abject stupidity needs to be stopped, now.

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With all the other issues and problems facing our society, someone could resolve this simply and not make it a reason to fight against someone who is, literally, standing up and making her voice heard -- isn't that one of the traits we're supposed to be encouraging and fostering in our best and brightest?

Argh.  >:<

You are absolutely right. I somehow missed it yesterday.


comment by the assistant principal.

What an arrogant ass.  :/


This is one of those incredibly ugly stories of bureaucratic pettiness and vindictiveness. It deserves wide circulation I think because it is one of those individual cases which really epitomize and dramatize where everything just goes so incredibly off the tracks and over the cliff's edge, like trying children as if they were adults. Education bureaucrats who can treat a child this way do not seem to me to have much understanding of the compassion that should guide an adult or of the support a child needs. What on earth are people like that doing in education? It is an affront to all of us I think that such a situation could exist.

beaurocrats and petty beaurocracies interfere with real learning and education; in a way, the young woman is learning a very special lesson -- two, in fact -- that may serve her (and her peers) very well in the future: 1 lesson gives them a glimpse of what structure without meaning and interpretation can produce, and the other is a very crucial lesson in people-powered governance.

It seems to me that this is clearl discriminatory.  It sounds like Ms. Phanachone is dealing with a stubborn and immature administrator who's on a control trip.  I bet the guy speeds up in traffic so people can't get on the freeway in front of him.  You know the type--200 years old and still playing "Don't butt in front of me."

Eric L. Wattree

Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everybody who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

I think the "Rosa Parks" comment was incredibly arrogant, myopic and ...I can't find the right descriptors. :/

I do believe that it's more than the assistant principal -- which is even more distressing, as several others appear to share the same type of limited capacity for intelligence and actual thought.

As for the student -- of ~course~ she's not going to be another Rosa Parks.  She's "Lori Phanachone" -- a name we'll hopefully remember with as much honor and distinction as Ms. Parks.