SAN JOSE, Calif. – The United States may have come a long way in the fight against institutionalized racism but in California, black children are still being denied access to an important educational tool.
Pamela Lewis wanted to have her 6-year-old son Nicholas take a standardized IQ test (search) to determine if he qualifies for special education speech therapy. Officials at his school routinely provide the test to kids but as Lewis soon found out, not to children who are black, due to a statewide policy that goes back to 1979.
At that time, many black kids performed poorly on the IQ test and wound up in special education classes. A lawsuit claimed the test was biased and a judge agreed — banning public schools from giving the test to black children while allowing it for everyone else.
Lawyers for the New Haven School District (search) claim they assess black children through academic performance and other criteria.
The state is looking into Lewis' appeal but she said as a final insult a district official suggested if she changed her son's paperwork to re-classify him as white, as she is, he'd be able to take the test.
She refused and redoubled her commitment to fight for her child's right to be measured by the same standards as other kids.
Go to the video box at the top of this story to watch a report by FOX News' Claudia Cowan.