Disparate Impact Law Reigns Over Canada
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From the Ottawa Citizen:

Teacher candidates win ‘huge victory’ over province’s mandatory math test for educators

The test has 50 mathematics content questions and 21 questions about math pedagogy. The applicant has to score 70 per cent on both parts to pass.

by Joanne Laucius
Publishing date:Dec 22, 2021 • 1 day ago • 4 minute read

A mandatory math test for those who want to become certified teachers is unconstitutional, an Ontario court has decided.

Ontario introduced the Math Proficiency Test (MPT) as part of a package of provincial strategies to improve student math skills after test scores began to dip. As of last year, the MPT was a requirement for all new teacher candidates who want to teach in publicly-funded schools.

The Ontario Teacher Candidates’ Council requested a judicial review, arguing the test had a disproportionately negative effect on racialized candidates.

The word “racialized” is used to paper over the contradiction between:

  • Race Does Not Exist
  • All we talk about these days is race.

So, you see, it’s not like people being legally privileged by this judicial reasoning are getting these extra rights for racial reasons, it’s instead because they’ve been “racialized” in some kind of socially constructed mass delusion.

Recently, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice Divisional Court found the requirement infringes on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The court’s Dec. 17 decision noted that racialized teachers were under-represented in Ontario and that there were alternatives to the MPT.

Racialized students benefit from being taught by racialized teachers,” the court decision stated. “The deleterious effects of the MPT on racialized teacher candidates who have been unsuccessful in the test outweighs its benefits.”

This is a topic that has been studied a lot going back to the Coleman Report in 1966. My impression is that, yes, there is some advantage in having a teacher of the same race as the student, all else being equal. But the general cognitive level of the teacher (as represented by, say, a verbal test of teachers in the Coleman Report) is the biggest single nurture factor in all of education. And, unfortunately, all else is seldom equal.

But we aren’t supposed to talk about that.

Moreover, we aren’t supposed to think about any new manifestation of this vastly common phenomenon in the contexts of thousands of social science studies over the last 60 years. That black and Amerindians do worse than whites and Asians on a new cognitive test in Ontario is supposed to raise huge red flags about the new test when the opposite would be the case: if they’d somehow invented a new test in which there weren’t racial gaps, the courts should treat it with deep skepticism considering the immense weight of social science showing that nobody has been able to do it and maintain predictive validity.

… The test has 50 mathematics content questions and 21 questions about math pedagogy. The applicant has to score 70 per cent on both parts to pass.

Atimniraye Nyelade said he had no problems with the mathematics content questions, but didn’t succeed on the pedagogy portion.

“The mathematics part is all about logic. The pedagogical part is a lot of memory work,” he said.

This Cameroonian would-be math teacher says, in other words, that he’s cool with the masculine logic parts of the test but bombed on the feminine verbose parts.

The province started officially administering the test last May. The demographic data shows disparities in success rates, the court heard. Candidates who identify as Indigenous and Black have success rates 20 per cent lower than white candidates.

Francophone candidates also had a lower success rate than anglophone test-takers. Of the non-white candidates writing the test in French, 55 per cent were successful compared to 84 per cent of the white candidates writing in French, the court heard. Those whose first language is neither French nor English had an even lower success rate.

“Racialized teacher candidates have gone through an education system in which they have suffered discrimination and disadvantage,” the decision said.

Actually, the human interest example in this article, Atimniraye Nyelade, went through the education system in black-ruled Cameroon.

“The candidates are then required to take ‘high stakes’ standardized tests which the available data shows they are more likely to fail.”

Teacher candidates have argued there are alternatives to the test that would be at least as effective in improving student achievements in math — such as beefing up math instruction in teaching programs or requiring a math course as a prerequisite to enter a teaching program.

And those methods would not have racial disparate impact because …?

I don’t know much about civil rights law in Canada. How long has half-century-old American Griggs disparate impact-thinking been part of Canadian law?

[Comment at Unz.com]

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