In spite of her 3.9 GPA, the Iowa school system has determined that Lori Phanachone is officially illiterate and will be expelled unless she takes a test to prove that she knows English. All because she indicated on her registration form that her parents originally spoke a different language:
The school district's curriculum coordinator, Lori Porsche, said taking the test is mandatory because Phanachone indicated on her school registration that English was not the first language spoken in her home. Her parents are Laotian and still speak little English.It would seem that being able to pass (or in this case excel in) all your classes would be proof enough of a student's language abilities, even if your parents came from another country. Then again, when the purpose of schooling is to train children not to question authority rather than to educate them, learning to follow the rules (no matter how silly or racist they might be) is an important part of the process.
Phanachone, who was born in California and lived in upstate New York before moving to Storm Lake with her family in 2006, said she has never been enrolled in any English Language Learning or English as a Second Language program...Until she was ordered to serve in-school suspension last week, Phanachone said, she had A's in speech, accounting, chemistry and English composition. Her poorest grade, a B-plus, was in pre-calculus. But she said she fears what might happen to her grades as a result of her suspensions and time out of the classroom.
Porsche declined to discuss Phanachone's academic record but did not dispute her achievement claims, which fellow students confirmed.