Last month, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the
State of California is not in violation of federal civil-rights statutes
by testing prospective public school teachers.

According to a July 14 Los Angeles Times article, eight unsuccessful
test-takers, and groups representing minority teachers, challenged the
legality of the California Basic Education Skills Test (CBEST), charging
it discriminates against minorities. Statistics presented during the
litigation showed that 80 percent of whites passed the test the first
time, compared to 38 percent for blacks, 49 percent for
Mexican-Americans and 60 percent for Asian-Americans.

CBEST is not rocket science, especially for a college graduate. A
multiple choice question on the math portion asked: A school district is
proposing a 5 percent increase in the number of days in a school year.
Currently there are 180 days in a school year. How long would a school
year be with the proposed increase? a. 181 days, b. 183 days, c. 185
days, d. 189 days or e. 270 days.

Another question asked: Seven more than two times a number is 35.
What is the number? a. 42, b. 28, c. 21, d. 14 and e. 5. The question
missed most frequently on the math test asked how many students could be
served a half-pint of milk from a five-gallon container. I’m not going
to insult readers by giving the answers to these questions.

One would expect that an eighth-grader, surely a 10th-grader, would
have mastered most of the material on California’s teacher test. It’s
disgraceful that people who want to teach our young people have not
mastered eighth- and 10th-grade reading, writing and arithmetic. What’s
worse is they sue the state after having failed the test. I’d go hide in
a corner.

John T. Affeldt, the plaintiff’s attorney, said, “It means we’re
going to continue to see a predominantly white teaching force in
California and that qualified teachers of color will be
disproportionately hindered from applying.” That’s amazing newspeak. I’d
like Affeldt to tell us how can a teacher be called qualified if he
can’t demonstrate mastery of eighth- and 10th-grade material.

Civil-rights organizations and black leaders always side with
teachers against competency testing. Here’s a test question for you to
answer: What schools do you suppose teachers are assigned who haven’t
mastered eighth- and 10th-grade reading, writing and arithmetic? a.
Predominately black or Mexican-American schools or b. Predominately
white schools.

But it’s really not that surprising that black “leaders” and
civil-rights organizations side with teacher interests rather than the
interests of young black people. Poll after poll show black parents in
favor of school vouchers by large margins, yet the Black Caucus and the
NAACP fight tooth and nail against school vouchers that would give black
parents more options in finding better education opportunities for their

Last year, House Majority Leader Dick Armey sponsored a bill that
would have provided 2,000 scholarships for low-income D.C. children to
attend private schools. D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes-Norton led protest
demonstrations against vouchers in Washington. Norton has greater
concern for maintaining the education establishment’s monopoly than the
interests of black youngsters — youngsters educationally handicapped
and made useless for the high-tech world of the 21st century.

The good news is that these people’s days are numbered, as more and
more black people wise up to the civil-rights rope-a-dope. Black parents
are not only increasingly sending their children to non-public schools
but are fleeing cities with rotten schools, such as Washington, D.C., in

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