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Are Florida tests discriminatory?

For families that speak a language other than English, the education system can be difficult to navigate. While America has no national official language, the majority of schools teach primarily in English, which can especially hurt Florida’s Spanish-speaking families.

Parents are unable to help children with homework or communicate with teachers. Children have the added burden of learning an entire language along with the standard academic subjects. This places them at a huge disadvantage from their classmates.

A recent source of tension in Florida is testing. The state only distributed exams written in English, which some residents believed were discriminatory. Florida’s education plan justified this by citing that English was the official state language.

While tests already cause anxiety for English-speaking students, children who are still learning the language have a larger problem. It may be hard for Americans who have known English their entire life to understand the extent of the issue. Low test scores can damage grades, which can in turn decrease the child’s chances of college acceptance.

Federal agents reviewed Florida’s education policies to make sure they prevent discrimination, including how the state handles tests. They recently decided that Florida must provide tests in other languages for students who use a different primary language. In this case, federal law requires the state’s English law to make an exception.

It’s not safe to assume that schools will automatically follow federal guidelines for anti-discrimination policies. However, discrimination can impair a child’s future by denying equal access to education.

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