“Someone told me I should have put English as my first language when I registered for school,” Phanachone said. “But I refused. I will not deny who I am. And I will not disrespect my culture or my mother.”
An Iowa high school student who speaks and understands English perfectly has been declared ‘illiterate’ as she refuses to take the English proficiency test at her school. The Sioux City Journal reports:
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.
Well, of course it is demeaning and racist. Phanachone was born and bred in the United States. She is being targeted to sit the ELDA because she indicated on a form that English was not the first language spoken in her household and her parents spoke very little English.
Obviously, English is not the first language spoken in most immigrant households but that does not correlate with an inability to speak English. There are white American kids who can barely spell, let alone speak English. Maybe the wrong person is being asked to sit an ELDA.