On top of reading like the plot of “1984,” with mentions of machines, regimes and establishments, this article from The Nation is trying to throw a bomb to alert its audience to the growing power of the opt-out movement.
Except that it misses the mark.
It’s not an explosion or revolution if most people don’t buy into it. And as three recent polls show, most parents are not exactly stoking the flames of discontent.
The poll from PDK/Gallup reported that only 41 percent of adults think parents should be allowed to excuse their child from standardized tests. Fewer than one in three parents (31 percent) say they would opt-out their child.
Education Next’s poll says two-thirds (67 percent) of the public supports the federal government continuing to require that all students be tested in math and reading each year in grades 3-8 and once in high school. A strong majority, 59 percent, oppose allowing parents to opt-out their children. More than half of the poll’s respondents, 52 percent, oppose letting parents opt their children out of tests.
Most people support testing, especially people of color, those who tend to be undermined by the system.
According to the Center for American Progress, more than 9 in 10 African-American voters, 92 percent, think public school students should be tested at least once annually. They (30 percent), along with Hispanics (29 percent), are more likely than whites (15 percent) to believe standardized testing is both a useful measure of student learning and a means to improve their schools. People of color are also less inclined to agree that parents should opt out of tests.
It’s not a rebellion if it’s led by those whom the system benefits the most—white, well-heeled people with their pick of stellar, well-funded schools. It lends credence to those who have little to complain about and leaves out those who have a lot.