From the Boston Globe:
Minority scores lag on teaching test
Panel to study failure rate, bias complaints
By Tracy Jan, Globe Staff | August 19, 2007
More than half the black and Hispanic applicants for teaching jobs in Massachusetts fail a state licensing exam, a trend that has created a major obstacle to greater diversity among public school faculty and stirred controversy over the fairness of the test.
The minority failure rate has been demonstrably higher than among whites since the test's inception nearly a decade ago, according to state statistics, which show that 52 percent of Hispanic applicants and 54 percent of black applicants fail the writing portion of the exam. By comparison, 23 percent of whites fail. Black and Hispanic teachers also lag behind white teachers in major subject tests such as English, history, and math.
The problem has become so acute that a state task force of teachers, professors, hiring directors, and state education officials convened last week to begin examining why minorities fare so much worse on the tests.
"One of the fallouts which is particularly upsetting in our expe rience across the colleges is fewer and fewer students of color are even going into teaching because word has gotten out that these tests are very difficult for them," said Sally Dias, a vice president at Emmanuel College in Boston who is a member of the panel. "One test should really not be a determinant of someone's career."