Chicago Teachers Union: Illinois Assessment Readiness test unfair to non-English speaking children

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Chicago Teachers Union wants the Chicago Public Schools to tell parents that their children can opt out of a state assessment test that they say is unfair to immigrant children.

The Illinois Assessment of Readiness is given to elementary and middle school students across the state.

Union officials, who held a press conference on Tuesday, said the test forces some children who are non-English speakers to take an exam in a language they don't fully understand.

CTU claims CPS has suppressed parents' efforts to opt out in the past.

"In past years, CPS has pressured students to take the test, which can take six hours or more, and undermined parents' efforts to opt their children out of the test," a CTU statement said. "Educators and advocates charge that the test has little value as an assessment tool, and instead is often used as a bludgeon to undercut educators whose students fail to 'make the grade.'"

Chicago Public School officials said the state requires all schools in the state to administer the readiness test and the district is legally prohibited from modifying testing requirements.

"The state of Illinois requires CPS and all other schools in the state to administer the Illinois Assessment of Readiness, and school districts are legally prohibited from modifying testing requirements," said Emily Bolton, CPS spokesperson. "To help educators and families make the most of the state-mandated assessment, the district provided guidance to schools and families in advance of testing."

CTU proposed that CPS advocate that the state remove the test requirement.

The CTU is also asking the new state superintendent and board of ISBE to revise their existing policy that parents have no right to be involved in opt out.
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