. . . when they expect the state to educate their children at public expense, the public has a right to know whether those children are learning anything (no, not whether Johnny and Mary are learning, but whether the children of Waco—or Scarsdale—are learning); whether taxpayers are getting a decent ROI from the schools they’re paying for; and whether their community, their state, their society will be economically competitive and civically whole in the future as a result of an adequately educated populace.
Testing isn’t perfect, we can’t judge learning by seat time, graduations or “teacher-conferred grades,” Finn writes. Other assessment options are “subjective, expensive, impractical, or all of the above.”
Better tests are coming, but that doesn’t excuse “opting out” now. It’s not a legitimate form of civil disobedience. And it’s probably not legal, either. If you really find state tests odious, put your money and time where your mouth is—and stop asking taxpayers to educate your children.
Requiring students to take state exams is like requiring vaccinations, Finn argues. “Maybe your kid is healthy today but the classroom needs everybody’s kid to be inoculated lest an epidemic start.”
Of course, there’s an opt-out movement for vaccinations too.