36. Standardized Testing Required by the Federal or State Government (5/01)

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Whereas schools need to prepare students for tests they are required to take, which means that required tests dictate what curriculum will be used and how it will be taught; and

Whereas federal testing represents a major increase in government control of education because although states, not the federal government, have the policing authority to make laws that govern schools, the federal government is claiming it has the authority to require federal testing of students in schools that accept money from the federal government; and

Whereas federal testing is especially powerful because it applies the same requirements to the whole country, undermining local control, diversity of thought and belief, and freedom of education; and

Whereas any public or private school that accepts federal funding for any reason may be required to administer federal tests to its students, so that federal tests may be required of private schools that would be free from regulation by the government as long as they did not accept tax dollars, which means that private schools lose an important part of their long-standing independence of significant regulation by the government, and homeschoolers’ claim that they should not be required to take government tests because they are private schools would be weakened; and

Whereas the Milwaukee Choice Program allows federal and state funds to go to religious schools, so that even religious schools may begin requiring their students to take federal tests (in addition to the state tests that are already required of religious schools that participate in the Choice Program); and

Whereas standardized tests can be used to label children, to justify additional testing, and to control the choices parents have in where and how their children will be educated; and

Whereas government-mandated standardized testing means that the state rather than parents would decide when children are ready for tests, what tests will be used, how and where tests will be administered, and what action will be taken based on the results; and

Whereas in order to prepare for and pass such tests, students need to follow a curriculum similar to those used in public schools and to adopt, at least temporarily, the values and attitudes of those who designed the test, and thereby give up the opportunity to pursue an education consistent with their principles and beliefs; and

Whereas homeschools in Wisconsin have been successful in large part because they have not been required to take tests required either by the state or by the federal government, so they have been free to choose or develop a curriculum that works well for their family; and

Whereas if homeschoolers accept money from the federal or state government in the form of vouchers, choice programs, tax credits, tax deductions, or in other ways, homeschoolers will voluntarily give the federal or state government a basis for claiming that homeschoolers should be required to take government-mandated tests; therefore,

Be it resolved by members of the Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA is opposed to testing required by the federal government and will work to prevent its being mandated for homeschoolers; and

Be it further resolved that WPA reaffirms the commitment it has made in previous resolutions to work to oppose programs that would provide homeschoolers with money from the government and will work to inform homeschoolers and others about the risks of accepting such money. 5/01

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