In this recent story we read:
Tracy and Mary Finney thought they were meeting with the principal at West Side Elementary in Marietta, Georgia, this morning to discuss their choice to opt out of Standardized State Testing for their children. Instead, they were met by a police officer who told the Finney’s that their decision to “oppose something the school is trying to do” is considered “kind of a trespassing situation.”
“I certainly didn’t wake up this morning thinking I was going to meet with police at my children’s school,” said Tracy Finney, father of 9-year-old and 11-year-old students attending West Side Elementary.
This raises a few questions: does a state authority have the right to force, by way of law enforcement officers, children to perform intellectual work, in this case, a state-mandated standardized test? While attendance laws have a long history, I’m not aware of those laws being interpreted to legalize the use of force against students and their families to compel students to perform academic work. Up to this point, children and families across the U.S. and in New York State have faced harassment and punishment for opting out of required state tests, but I am not aware of any instance where police were deployed to force students to actually take a test. This is forced intellectual labor, and it raises political, legal and social issues the importance of which goes far beyond the questionable policy of high-stakes testing.