Why do affluent parents oppose student testing? In the SF Chronicle, Debra Saunders makes the case that standarized tests and graduation exams diagnose learning problems, highlight what’s working, shame schools to improve, force high schools to teach basic reading and math skills and reduce the need for colleges to spend money on remedial classes. True enough. But affluent parents don’t care.
The children of affluent parents learn basic skills, or their parents hire tutors to fill in the gaps. They’re not passed along without learning to read, write and calculate. Affluent parents don’t send their children to low-performing schools, and if a school in a high-priced suburb posts mediocre scores, parents prefer to blame the test. It’s easier than thinking they paid too much to live in the “good” school district.
Affluent parents like some tests just fine. Their kids will use SATs to compete with students from schools with lax grading policies. Their kids will shine on AP tests.
Standardized tests and graduation exams have forced schools to focus on the neediest students, instead of writing them off. Affluent parents’ hostility to these tests is logical — and profoundly selfish.