Secretary of Education Arne Duncan issued a veiled threat to the parents and students who choose to opt out of Common Core testing – The Feds “have an obligation to step in.”
Federal law, under No Child Left Behind, requires 95 percent of students in a state to take the annual standardized tests in reading and math from grades 3-8. It is a requirement which until now has never needed enforcement or consideration.
With as many as 184,000 students in New York choosing to opt out, the 95 percent threshold will not only be in jeopardy, it will be an easily missed mark.
When asked what would happen in states with such a high opt out rate, whether they would have to force consequences upon schools, parents, and students, Duncan responded “We think most states will do that.”
He added, “If states don’t do that, then we have an obligation to step in.”
Via the Daily Caller:
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said at a Q&A in Chicago Tuesday that widespread student boycotts of standardized tests are not acceptable, and if state governments don’t stop them, the federal government will.
Duncan didn’t elaborate on what the federal intervention might look like. It could, however, involve labeling districts with too many opt-outs as “failing,” a status that places restrictions on how schools use federal money. This would in turn pressure state government and school districts to roll back parental opt-out rights.
Duncan maintained the Obama Administration’s position that standardized tests are crucial for both tracking students’ progress and keeping tabs on the achievement gaps between certain groups.
Worse, Duncan wasn’t simply threatening parents who choose to opt out their children in general, but rather, a specific group of parents. A group he has maligned before. White parents.
The Secretary of Education, you see, played the race card once again, insinuating that opposition to Common Core testing is somehow racially motivated.
Via Ed Week:
What’s more, the goal of testing is really about ensuring about equity of opportunity. In the past, English Language Learners, students in special education, and racial minorities were “swept under the rug,” Duncan said. “Folks in the civil rights community, folks in the disability community, they want their kids being assessed. They want to know if they are making progress or growth.”
You heard that right – Opposition to Common Core means we’re trying to continue an alleged pattern of sweeping racial minorities under the rug. Minorities want their children taking these Common Core tests.
Duncan has played the card before, as he once famously quipped that opposition to New York’s Common Core testing was mostly from “white suburban moms” who were finding out that their kid wasn’t as “brilliant” as they thought.
In reality, during the first year of Common Core testing, it was minority groups who suffered the most according to a Washington Post report.