The UC Santa Barbara Multicultural Center (MCC) presents the documentary Tested at the MCC Theater on Wednesday, January 23 at 6 pm. This provocative film explores such issues as access to a high-quality public education, affirmative action, and the model-minority myth. After the film, director Curtis Chin will be on hand for a discussion. The screening is co-sponsored by Department of Asian American Studies, Department of Education, Department of Black Studies, and Department of Chican@ Studies.
The gap in opportunities for different races in America remains extreme. Nowhere is this more evident than our nation's top public schools. In New York City, where blacks and Hispanics make up 70% of the city's school-aged population, they represent less than 5% at the city's most elite public high schools. Meanwhile Asian Americans make up as much as 73%. Tested follows a dozen racially and socio-economically diverse 8th graders as they fight for a seat at one of these schools. Their only way in: to ace a single standardized test. Tested includes the voices of such education experts as Pedro Noguera and Diane Ravitch.
"Curtis Chin's Tested is a brisk, moving look at the Specialized High School Admissions Test and the absurd way New York sorts children into high-performing schools like Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, and Brooklyn Tech," the Village Voice wrote. "Chin introduces a cross section of kids and parents, many of whom see landing a place in these competitive schools as the best chance at a better life. Hanging over every study group and test-prep session is a question that never goes away: How does a bureaucracy discover talent in low-income or underrepresented communities? 'You were born with two strikes against you,' one African-American mom tells her promising kid. 'Don't be dumb and make it three.'"
Director Chin Curtis has written for ABC, Disney Channel, and Nickelodeon, and won awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, and the San Diego Asian American Film Foundation. As a community activist, he co-founded the Asian American Writers Workshop and Asian Pacific Americans for Progress. His first film Vincent Who? has screened at nearly 400 colleges, NGOs and corporations in four countries.