Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said at Q&A in Chicago Tuesday that if the high rate of parents and students opting out of Common Core testing continues, the feds “have an obligation to step in,” implying that students would be forced to take the test, like it or not.
Under No Child Left Behind, a minimum of 95% of students in a state are required to take the annual standardized tests in reading and math from grades 3-8. It is a requirement that until now has never needed enforcement or consideration.
With as many as 184,000 students in New York State choosing to opt out, the number opting in will fall woefully short of the 95% threshold.
When asked what would happen in states with such a high opt out rate — whether their governments would have to force consequences upon schools, parents, and students — Duncan responded, “We think most states will do that,” adding, “If states don’t do that, then we have an obligation to step in.”
Via the Daily Caller:
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. [Emphasis added]
The highlighted phrase carries with it the clear implication that opposition to Common Core testing is somehow racially motivated in the view of the federal government.
Via Ed Week:
[T]he 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.”
Duncan has played the card before. 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.
Cross-posted at the Mental Recession