The 50 States’ Control of Education

Each of the 50 states has substantial control over K-12 schools. Testing is one such area of control. The states impose differing diploma requirements. Some require tests be passed before graduating. Others do not.

Oregon’s legislature is considering Senate Bill 456.

This Bill “Prohibits State Board of Education, school district or public charter school from requiring student to pass test to demonstrate proficiency in Essential Learning Skills in order to receive diploma. Directs school district or public charter school that did not award person diploma because person did not pass test to demonstrate proficiency in Essential Learning Skills to award diploma to person upon request of person. Declares emergency, effective on passage.”

If this is made law, the Legislature commands schools that they may not require passing an exit test as a requirement to receive a diploma; and if a student has already failed such a test, he need only request his diploma and it must be granted.

This law prevents better (tougher, more rigorous) schools or schools who want to become better from distinguishing themselves by signaling to colleges and others that their graduates have passed a final test of fitness. It’s an anti-competitive law that prevents what would be a feature of graduating if schools were free market institutions.

Strangely, the law declares an emergency: “This 2019 Act being necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety, an emergency is declared to exist…” There is huge debate over whether or not the porous southern border has reached the emergency stage, but a state senate has no problem in declaring an emergency that does not exist. How many more such state emergencies are now extant?

A way around the law would be to make such tests optional and attach a note on a diploma indicating the test was passed, failed or refused. The state would surely pass a law against such helpful discrimination.

Sooner or later, college-bound students will take an entrance exam that’s administered nation-wide. They still have the incentive to become outstanding students, unless these entrance exams are watered down.

Or will they? There is legal liability ready to be inflicted on colleges by the insidious “equality” meme, by which colleges may be blamed, sued or cut off from funding if they even appear to discriminate on hallowed criteria. Hence, colleges are switching over to making the standardized tests optional.

Race has always been a problem for America. Affirmative action and the accompanying theme of “equality” and “rights” is succeeding in producing worse and worse education.


11:56 am on February 22, 2019