The Test Made For White Kids, Not Black Kids

African-American Students, Smarter Balanced Assessment

I get it now.  A few months ago I was discussing parent opt out with an African-American friend of mine.  He explained to me that African-American students don’t do well on standardized tests because they’re written for white kids.  I disagreed with him.  I couldn’t grasp what was right before my eyes.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment was made for white kids.  Civil rights groups, usually backed by the Gates Foundation and other corporate education reformers, claim high-stakes standardized tests are important.  They say they need to understand where African-American students rank compared to their peers.  This only perpetuates the myth that these tests are necessary.  These groups vehemently opposed parents opting out of these tests because they claimed it would only continue pathways to discrimination.  Instead, the reality is staring them right in the face.  Standardized tests do show achievement gaps.  But not because they offer any solutions on how to close those gaps, but because they were written for a specific audience.

These tests fail to understand different minorities or cultures.  They were created from a white culture perspective.  They ask students to push themselves based on standards that don’t address poverty, low-income, special needs, violent environments, discrimination, segregation, or equity.  Even for white students, many who also deal with issues of low-income in our country, don’t perform well on these tests unless they are from more affluent areas.


Charter Schools were supposed to be the savior of education.  They were supposed to offer unique new ways of educating students and be models of innovation.  Instead, at least in Delaware, they have served as incubators of discrimination, segregation, and racism.  We can’t ignore this fact any longer.  We have to address this as a state, head-on.


In all likelihood, our charters are merely copying what happens in our regular districts.  We see that African-Americans in our traditional school districts do not fare any better on these tests.  Charter schools and districts with higher populations of white students do better on standardized tests.  This fact hasn’t escaped those who create these tests.  They know this.  Our politicians and education leaders know this as well.  This story isn’t new, nor is it shocking.  They have known this ever since standardized tests came about.  But we expect African-Americans to perform the same as their white peers.  If they don’t, our governments will label and shame the schools and teachers that administer these tests.  Why?  What is the point?

Education improvement programs make lots of money.  If a school isn’t converted into a charter under the accountability schemes brought to you by Education Inc., you better believe some company out there stands to make a tidy profit off “fixing” the “problem”.  In Delaware alone, a company called Mass Insight was paid $2.5 million dollars to help out six “priority schools”.  All inner-city schools with, you guessed it, very high populations of African-American students.

Delaware Governor Jack Markell said the Smarter Balanced Assessment is the best test Delaware ever made.  If that is true, then it shows Delaware to be a very racist state because we allow this to continue.  Our Department of Education can throw out statistics and graphs until we are blue in the face, but the true facts are above, and in the article I did on low-income populations and Smarter Balanced proficiency.  I have no doubt students will gradually do better on these tests.  But not enough to give them the education they deserve.  Not enough for African-Americans to catch up to their Caucasian peers.  This isn’t defeat.  This isn’t accepting a status quo.  This is reality.  A test solely designed for one pre-dominant culture under the assumption that other sub-groups will catch-up is always destined for eventual failure.  Do we call that now?  Or do our policy-makers only look at the cost of the test and not the cost to the children of their state?

For parents of African-American students: How many pictures that show the same thing do you need to see?  Why are you continuing to let your children take a test that forces them to work harder to live to a different ideal and culture?  I’ve seen some of you point out that your children have predominantly white teachers.  If our schools and teachers are judged on a test that is written for white kids, and a white teacher is teaching a majority of African-American kids in a classroom, what do you think the results are going to show?  This test serves a dual purpose: to keep African-Americans down and to push those unionized white teachers out of public education.  If you want more African-American teachers in the future, how will today’s African-American youth even feel inspired to go into education when they are constantly told they are failures based on these tests?  These same tests that will eventually break down and morph into end of chapter tests, taken by students multiple times throughout the year.  This is not about helping students to become “college and career ready”.  It is an elaborate and long-term tracking system.  Think about it, and opt out until those in power change these pictures.  Look at those in your community who want this.  Follow the money.  Who are they speaking for?  Corporations or children?


11 thoughts on “The Test Made For White Kids, Not Black Kids

    1. That is a very good question. And then we have to ask, if there were people of color who helped write it, what was their income level, did they work for companies or foundations supported by the Gates Foundation and the rest, and where are they now?


  1. For one thing, poverty and the children’s conditions at home have EVERYTHING to do with EVERYTHING when it comes to education. The reason the government (both dems and rep) want to keep standardized testing accountability is so they can create a free market economy for education. All public schools will eventually fail as more and more charter schools open up. Because charters don’t have to provide transportation, it will be impossible for poverty stricken families to enroll because they have no way to get there and back. Charter schools will continue to be allowed (or not held accountable for) refusing entry to their schools for a multitude of reasons. The government will say, well, if you can’t get into a school, we’ll can provide you with Home Schooling programs and a computer (contracted by Bill Gates who will make billions).

    If teachers can’t get parents of poverty stricken children to work with them on homework or even just make sure they DO their homework, or fill out an emergency contact card, or sign a permission slip, or pack a lunch for them to take on a field trip, or feed them properly or clothe them properly, do you think they will make the effort to home school them?

    These children will be eliminated from schools and the scores on the PISA tests will go up, up, up and the U.S. will have Raced to the TOP of those data tables that mean nothing. Meanwhile, the poverty stricken will become even more oppressed. The biggest shame of all is they have the inner city families convinced that test scores determine how much money goes into their school. What happens when those schools close? That is the ultimate goal.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It was obvious to me many years ago when I worked with school kids in educational programs for the National Parks facilities and especially at the Frederick Douglass Historic Site in Washington DC, that education for inner city kids needed more variety than the standard curriculum. Most role models for these kids are predominant sports figures and music/actors. Although this is a good thing there must be more emphasis on academics, as pointed out by Dr. Ben Carson, presidential nominee. Inner city kids are just trying to survive, many of them trying to cope with gangs and drugs in their neighborhoods, older kids are raising and caring for their younger siblings as if they were the patent, kids being bullied at school because their clothes are dirty or not stylish, many come from one parent homes where they don’t often see the parent who works 2 maybe 3 jobs and can’t take time off work to attend school board or PTA meetings. How can they concentrate on taking illogical and useless tests (based on comments I’ve heard from kids) when their objective at this point in their lives, is getting through the day unharmed.
    These kids and their parents depend on teachers, relatives, coaches, and other outside influences to expose them to knowledge/ideas that can influence/inspire them, not pigeon hole them based on a test developed by a CEO/CFO of a company or PhD of an institution they’ve never heard of.
    One has to question whether Bill Gates or Alfred Einstein or Frederick Douglass would have been successful if they had been subjected to the current school programs mandated by DEDOE. I think not.
    Frederick Douglass 1818-1895
    3 Keys For Success in Life:
    Believe in yourself.
    Take advantage of every opportunity.
    Use the power of spoken and written language to effect change for yourself and society.

    Liked by 3 people

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