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California / Intelligence Quotient Test Lawsuit / Discrimination #46140

ABC Evening News for Thursday, Oct 13, 1977
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(Studio) Lawsuit in San Francisco with regard to legality of intelligence quotient tests and whether or not they discriminate against certain people.
REPORTER: Harry Reasoner

(San Francisco, California) At issue is standardized intelligence quotient test, in this case, Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC). Opponents say it is culturally biased. Exs. cited with regard to discovery of American and identity of Gengis Khan. [Educational expert Asa HILLIARD - notes usual answer to 1st question is Columbus, for Spain and Portugal, and some accept Leif Ericson, but that obviously others, like the Indians, had to have done so, before them. Says only if child exposed to things like Khan in movies or by older generation, would he know that.] 16-yr.-old James Lannigan failed to answer such questions 8 years ago and was put in class for mentally retarded. His mother, Selena Lannigan, claims he was held back for failing to know things even she doesn't know. [Mrs. LANNIGAN - asks who is Genghis Khan. Doesn't know who wrote "Romeo and Juliet"; asks how child can be expected to know it if she doesn't.] Because of lawsuit, James is now in regular class; is said to be slow learner, but he blames school. [James LANNIGAN - notes he told school officials it was school's fault he hadn't learned, after they told him it was his fault.] State school superintendent Wilson Riles admits tests are biased, but wants to keep them. [RILES - says in hands of skilled people, cultural backgrounds are considered. Is use of test, not test itself, that can be bad.] Attys. for Lannigan and 5 other black children will find little opposition to charge of cultural bias, but court must answer question of whether tests have systematically underestimated IQ's of blacks, and if so, should they be banned.
REPORTER: Bill Redeker

Reasoner, Harry;
Redeker, Bill

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