CHICAGO – Surely CTU President Karen Lewis and the other far-left activists in the union would never politicize student test questions – would they? We have to wonder, since a test question for seventh-graders identified two phony articles – supposedly written by conservatives who oppose citizenship for illegal immigrants.
The articles read more like something published by the KKK than everyday conservatives.
A test question for Chicago Public Schools seventh graders is being called “offensive,” “racist,” and factually inaccurate by groups as disparate as the Illinois Republican Party and the Chicago Teachers Union. …
The question asks pupils to read two commentaries—both opposed to undocumented immigrants becoming U.S. citizens—and evaluate the text and the authors’ biographies to determine “the most authoritative and relevant to support your argument OPPOSING a pathway to citizenship.”
“I think it’s best to keep America for Americans and those who know how to speak English properly,” says the first text. “Save America for those of us who know how to behave in law abiding ways.” The article says undocumented immigrants “should go back to where they came from,” and the author says he “dream(s) of a time when we ban all new immigrants to America both legal and illegal.” The author is pictured as a black man named as Arie Payo, identified as a former aide to “President Bush’s Immigration Taskforce” and a contributor to “the Conservative Journal.”
But it turns out that Payo, his opinions, his credentials and even the “Conservative Journal” are all made up; so is the second text, in which small business owner “Stella Luna”— coincidentally the title of a children’s book—is identified as author of “The Dream Act is a Nightmare.” She worries that giving citizenship to immigrants “will increase the number of poor people in town.”
Interestingly, WBEZ says the test questions are created within the CPS system – not by an outside firm. More specifically, the station reports:
Officials said they do not know exactly who wrote the test question, but CPS said, in general, REACH performance tasks have been designed by teachers, including librarians, “in partnership with (the Chicago Teachers Union).”
Why in the world the union would be consulted on test questions is anyone’s guess, but it goes to show just how in control unions are of school governance.
Carol Caref, who works on teacher evaluation issues for the union, said CTU doesn’t know what revisions take place to REACH questions between the time teachers help create them and the time they become official CPS “performance tasks.”
“I can’t believe that very many eyes were on this particular performance task,” Caref said. “Because I can’t believe there isn’t someone who would have looked at this and said, ‘Whoa.’”
It’s unlikely only a few eyes looked at this. After all, the question was from the perspective of the fictitious “Conservative Journal,” and that’s how progressives view the opinions of conservatives. This is likely a CYA moment only because they got caught.
But if Caref is right – that only a few people looked at it – what does that say about quality control in Chicago Public Schools?