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‘Pep’ This.

People have been talking about the ‘pep’ talk that was given to some students at Esperanza High School. [OC Register]

On Monday 200 students (which were all coincidentally Hispanic) were pulled out of their classes to receive a motivational speech that the school administration hoped would improve scores on the upcoming Star proficiency exam.

The parents said a teacher told the students Monday that Hispanic students typically don’t do well on the tests and that this year they should give it an extra effort.

“My daughter works hard in school, and for her to be pulled out and given this pep talk, you just don’t do that. This is America,” parent David Peña said.

There’s a longer story that can be written here about the unfairness of “standardized” tests, and the extreme pressure that is put on school administrators to perform well on these exams. I would even go so far as to say that the people responsible for the pep-talk had good intentions. Patricia Simmons of Yorba Linda wrote a letter to the editor of the Orange County Register, and she unintentionally clarified why this story is a story:

Don’t you think that the recognition of those who serve our students is equally worthy of press coverage?

Nope. Man bites dog, Patricia. It’s not newsworthy that there are great people at Esperanza High School serving our children, or even that those people are inadequately compensated. That’s happening all over the place.

What’s news is that, statistically speaking, ethnic minorities have done shitty on standardized tests. What’s news is that teachers in America can look at a child and predict that she will do poorly on a test, but they still administer that test.

It’s news when an educator decides that the problem facing their school is not the way the children are being educated, but the ancestry of the student body.