State-Mandated Selective Testing,
Classification, and Tracking of English Learners in California Public Schools
Yang Sao Xiong
Ph.D. Student, Department of Sociology
University of California, Los Angeles
Southeast Asian refugees, especially their U.S.-born children, confront a multitude of socio-political obstacles to educational advancement and economic survival. Made invisible by policies which neglect the tremendous diversity of histories and experiences in contemporary American communities, Southeast Asian American children remain socially marginalized as the state erect multiple barriers to deny them equal access to quality education—their most important hope for prosperity in the United States. Through a critical examination of federal, state, and school district education policies and practices, this research identifies and explains how the processes of state-mandated selective testing, classification, and tracking of English Learners, including Southeast Asians, operate to systematically deprive these students of equal access to quality education in California’s public schools. Educational and social implications for Hmong-American students are also examined.
Key Words: tracking, English Learners, Southeast Asians, access to education