The Wyoming attorney general has officially advised the Wyoming Department of Education that it is illegal for parents to opt their own children out of statewide standardized assessment tests given in taxpayer-funded public schools.
The state’s attorney general, Peter K. Michael, declared that the annual standardized tests are mandatory in Wyoming in a bureaucrat-to-bureaucrat letter dated Aug. 27, 2014, according to EAGnews.org.
For some reason, the letter between highly visible government officials has been stamped in screaming capital letters with the words: “ATTORNEY-CLIENT COMMUNICATION—PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL.”
“The rules of the State Board of Education require districts to assess all eligible students,” the missive proclaims. “This requirement is within the Board’s statutory authority. Accordingly, districts must assess all eligible students, and students may not opt out of assessment.”
The attorney general further explained that the Wyoming Education Accountability Act, a 2011 state law, has superseded parents’ rights to keep their children home from school in the event they choose to do so.
A new system in Wyoming tied to the Common Core Standards Initiative relies on the standardized tests to assess student achievement, teacher performance and the overall effectiveness of each public school in the state. If parents aren’t forced to send their students to take the tests, the Attorney General reasoned, the whole system falls apart.
As EAGnews notes, the 2011 education law upon which Wyoming’s government lawyers rely provides no penalty for parents who choose to keep their children home on days when standardized tests occur.
If an extraordinarily large percentage of parents were to opt their children out of standardized testing in Wyoming — or most any other state — it would ultimately affect federal education funding the state receives.