With the his challenger, Dr. Kelli Ward gaining support for her run against him in the Republican Primary, Sen. John McCain voted for Sen. Mike Lee’s amendment to S.1177, the Every Child Achieves Act, which would have guaranteed parents to opt their children out of federally mandated assessments. With years to go before he faces a challenge, Sen. Jeff Flake voted against the right of parents to protect their kids from the data gathering tests.
“Under current law, states with opt-out laws risk losing federal education dollars if a certain proportion of parents decide opting-out is best for their children, because schools are required to assess 95 percent of their students in order to receive federal funds,” said Sen. Mike Lee in a statment issued after the vote. “I introduced an amendment to protect states from losing federal funding if over 5 percent of parents choose to opt out of federally-required tests. Unfortunately, the Senate failed to pass my amendment.”
Lee’s amendment failed in a 32 to 64 vote. According to Truth In American Education, Lee’s amendment “would require schools in states receiving Title I funds to notify parents about all assessments that are given, the dates they are going to be given, and the subjects they cover within a minimum of 14 days of the assessment being given. According to the language states are also required to allow parents to opt their student out of federally mandated assessments.”
McCain, the consummate politician, made a calculated move knowing that the amendment, while popular with testing foes on both sides of the aisle, would fail with or without his vote. A no vote would have given the vast opposition to the invasive testing ammunition against him in the Republican Primary.
The opt our movement is growing, and nowhere is it stronger than in Arizona. Arizona State Rep. Mark Finchem stated, “I am appalled that the Federal government, via Congress, insists in meddling in a State responsibility where there is no enumerated power under the U.S. Constitution. Senators are supposed to look out for the interests of the state, not the Federal government and educational industrial complex. Education is a state matter and responsibility. Congress has no place to tell local government how to educate. To install this as national policy is another step toward fascism.”