Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Opt Out Poses Serious Threat To Elites

You can hear how threatened the elites are by the Opt Out movement in the shrillness of this NY Times editorial attacking opt out as "an alarming...ill-conceived boycott."

The shriller the elites get in their pushback against ordinary citizens stepping up to protect themselves against the abuses of the state, the more you know how threatening that movement really is

The elites know they are stuck between a rock and a hard place with the Opt Out movement.

They have paid lip service to parent and teacher concerns over the Endless Testing regime but in the end have gone full steam ahead with it anyway.

Numerous complaints have been made about the badly designed Common Core tests based upon the fundamentally flawed Common Core "State" (Sic) Standards tied to the irrationality of the APPR teacher evaluation system, but the response from the elites has been "Shut up and take your tests - we know what is best for you!"

With the opt out numbers hitting the 20% benchmark (reformers love benchmarks) from 5% the year before, the elites know this "Shut up and take your test!" response isn't playing anymore, so they trot out the race card (the Opt Out movement is racist because it deprives children of color their civil right to a standardized test), they trot out the class card (they attack the movement as mostly white and affluent, though the opt out numbers from this year show that many of the districts where opt out was greatest were middle class) - anything to attack the movement and put an end to it.

Again, the elites know they are stuck between a rock and a hard place with the Opt Out movement.

They used to ignore the movement, then mock it, as small and marginal, but that's hard to do now that the opt out rate has hit 20% and threatens to go higher next year.

They can try and hit districts with high opt out rates with sanctions, taking resources away from schools and children, but that doesn't seem like a politically palatable thing to do.

One thing they are loathe to do - actually listen to the criticism of parents and teachers and come to some real and legitimate compromise on education policy (not one of those phony Arne Duncan compromises that work like this - agree with Arne and now we have compromise!)

It will be interesting to see where the elites go now.

The threat is real, the threat is growing and shrillness in response isn't going to put an end to it, that's for sure.


  1. Great article. The opt out movement will double this year. The state will eventually be forced to shelf it.

    1. I'm not sold that the state will be forced to shelve any of the Endless Testing regime and/or "Teacher Accountability" mechanisms just yet, as there are powerful, moneyed forces behind both with the ultimate goal of public school privatization, but I would say that they're going to have a lot less political cover to push that agenda. The days of many people naively buying into intransigent unions harming kids/education reformers protecting kids messaging are over.

  2. It's called the point of diminishing returns.

    A situation that can make a billionaire scream in agony.

    1. There is something to that - Murdoch ditching on Amplify after losing close to half a billion on it is an example of that.

  3. My favorite Ghandi quote:
    "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win."