Now that educators and parents are on a full revolt against the addiction to testing in the United States when it comes to public education, we have to arrive at a point where we have to consider the possibility of suing the U.S Department of Education and a few SEA’s. The suits would occur on the premise that NCLB and RtTT do not grant administrators, parents, and students due process protections when it comes to opting out of federally mandated tests and that the initiatives enacted create hostile learning environments.
The suit on the basis of the lack of or the practically nonexistence of due process protections would have to argue that in cases where students, parents, or administrators want to opt out of testing they are not given the chance in some cases to due process so that they can argue their cases. School officials and SEA officials are literally running around scared of the implications they can face if they allow students to skip these exams and that fear is inhibiting their access to an appropriate public education. The suit can further argue that when teachers and school administrators have professional objections to the tests that they do not have access to a due process discourse under NCLB, which allows for the forcing of testing onto children when such testing is not beneficial.
The second suit based on sponsorship of a most restrictive (learning) environment can follow the same discourse in argument but further elaborate on how the tests cause anxiety and thus can trigger other physical or psychological impairments in the classroom. It can argue that both NCLB and RtTT promote a learning environment where fear of failure and the drive of competition become central to the learning environment and clouds judgment, which hinders education from taking place in the Least Restrictive Environment that IDEA guarantees.
Simply refusing to take these tests, staging boycotts, and homeschooling children out of frustration with these tests and the lack of voice within the public education system is not going to change much. Yes, while these are all effective methods to reiterate just how serious parents and students value their options, they ultimately do not challenge lawmakers or the laws themselves and leave educators in a vulnerable position where these tests and lack of voice are forced onto them. Further, for the children, parents, and administrators who cannot afford to take a stand against this corporatist driven agenda are essentially abandoned because they are left to deal with a system they not is not doing right by its students. With each school year, these tests seep into new arenas of suppression and now districts and states are investing in these tests as a measure to pull effective teachers from the classroom while ignoring the problems that actually cause poor academic performance in students. The only way to reclaim public education is to piece-by-piece work to ensure that learning can actually take place within the classroom and that the prospect of democratic education remains central to public education.