The federal do-gooders who framed No Child Left Behind back in 2001 never envisioned that parents would take exception to their mandate that every child in grades three through eight (and once in high school) face annual math and reading tests. So the law is entirely silent on what happens if, as is happening now for the first time, thousands of parents across the country pull their kids in protest.
It’s hard to convey just how extraordinary this is. So here are a few snippets from just the past week’s news. In Germantown, Wisconsin, 62 percent of public-school students are sitting out tests. The district has been a hotbed of Common Core opposition, with a local school board among one of the handful nationwide to reject Common Core and decide to run with its own, higher-quality, curriculum. In Maine, “Cape Elizabeth saw 32 percent of its eighth-graders, 18 percent of its seventh-graders and 64 percent of its high school juniors opt out. There are many examples of high opt out rates across the state, but a reliable statewide tally isn’t yet available.” A bill to secure parents’ right to excuse their kids from mandatory tests recently passed the Delaware House 36 to 3 after a blaze of opt-outs left local schools scrambling. “A wide-ranging bill that would eliminate [national Common Core] tests in Ohio and limit state achievement tests to three hours per year passed the House 92-1 on Wednesday,” reported the Columbus Dispatch.
This is nowhere near a set of isolated incidents. In Washington state, every single junior at Nathan Hale High School (natch) refused state tests this spring. Somewhere around 200,000 children refused tests this spring in New York and, contrary to race-baiting from U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, substantial numbers of these defiant parents were not white rich people. FairTest, a lefty organization not keen on rigorous data, nevertheless keeps compiling an impressive number of similar news stories each week.
What does this mean? Does it matter? While the opt-out numbers are unprecedented in American history, they still represent a very small proportion of U.S. schoolkids. I think they do matter, and that they signal many Americans are ready for Murray’s civil disobedience project. Here’s why.
So should I buy tar, feathers, and pitchfork futures? Sounds hopeful!
Meanwhile, I had barely paid attention to this story, but it seems relevant: Oath Keepers standing down from Sugar Pine Mine, awaiting appeal decision. “Armed members of the Oath Keepers in Josephine county are standing down from the Sugar Pine Mine in Galice tonight. Last night the Interior Board of Land Appeals announced that they will grant the mine owner’s request to place BLM enforcement on hold. The stay will last until a decision is made whether or not the BLM holds surface rights to the mine, or decides whether those rights were grandfathered-in to the mine’s owners. The Oath Keepers tell NBC 5 News they’re happy the BLM is taking the right steps and they’re in the process of moving their security people away from the mine and down to the staging area.”
The Feds, apparently, really don’t want another Bundy Ranch confrontation, which is understandable since they lost that one.