Superintendent fails English test

The state of public school education never ceases to surprise me. Joanne Jacobs points to this article about school superintendent Wilfredo T. Laboy who gets paid over $150,000 a year but cannot seem to manage to pass a basic English literacy test when given three chances. Quoting the whole thing for posterity's sake:

August 03, 2003

Mass. School Superintendent Fails Test

ASSOCIATED PRESS

LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) - This city's superintendent of schools, who recently put two dozen teachers on unpaid leave for failing a basic English proficiency test, has himself flunked a required literacy test three times.

Wilfredo T. Laboy called his failing scores "frustrating" and "emotional." He blamed his performance on a lack of preparation and concentration, as well as the fact that that Spanish is his first language.

"It bothers me because I'm trying to understand the congruence of what I do here every day and this stupid test," Laboy told The Eagle-Tribune of Lawrence in a story published Sunday.

"What brought me down was the rules of grammar and punctuation," Laboy said. "English being a second language for me, I didn't do well in writing. If you're not an English teacher, you don't look at the rules on a regular basis."

State Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll said he is aware of Laboy's troubles with the test, but would not say how many chances Laboy would be given to pass or what the consequences of another failure could be.

He said Laboy was doing an excellent job leading the district, and is getting more time to prepare for the test. But he added, "He's going to have to pass. ... The situation will only get serious if he goes much longer without passing."

Since 1998, all Massachusetts educators - from teachers to superintendents - have had to pass the Communications and Literacy Skills Test, which measures basic reading and writing skills, including vocabulary, punctuation, grammar, spelling and capitalization.

Laboy, who receives a 3 percent pay hike this month that will raise his salary to $156,560, recently put 24 teachers on unpaid administrative leave because they failed a basic English test.

Keep in mind that Massachusetts is the same state in which social workers like Susan Etscovitz want to kidnap children from their homes from daring to try to escape from the system.

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I'm not a fan of strawman

I'm not a fan of strawman arguments...BUT! Can you imagine if this were an American at a Spanish school? Even if the school had 30% American population, would it be ok to be in charge of the education of students and not have a basic grasp of the language of the country you work in?

These people are supposed to be models and guides for the educational aspirations of the students, not someone who has to ask one of the kids in the hall how a semicolon works. And he even has the gall to say he doesn't understand how passing an English test has anything to do with being in charge of a school system.

Ugh.