Iowa: Protest of language test gets student suspended

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at
Fri Mar 6 21:44:43 UTC 2009

 Forwarded From: edling at

Des Moines Register

Protest of language test gets student suspended

A Storm Lake teenager was suspended from school this week because she
refused to take a test for students who are not fluent in English.

Lori Phanachone, the U.S.-born daughter of immigrants from Laos, says
she proved her grasp of English in other ways. The Storm Lake High
School senior has a near-perfect grade-point average and acceptance
letters from two Iowa colleges.

But because she listed Lao as her first language on a school
registration form, Phanachone said administrators forced her to take a
test for students who lack basic English skills.

"I'm all for help where it's needed, but for you to generalize
everyone who speaks a second language, that's so degrading," said
Phanachone, 18, who also might miss her school prom and track season.

Full story:


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at


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