TO: State and Local School Officials
FROM: Faceless Federal Bureaucrat at US Department of Education
I hope that our recent letter about participation rates in accountability testing has clarified the department's stance on the 95% participation requirement. This most recent threat of Dire Consequences should be heeded, and should not be confused with this other time we made the threat, or the time before that. This time, if more than 5% of your test-worthy students are opted out of testing by their families, we will rain hellfire and damnation down upon you, or at the very least take away some of your funding.
ESSA requires a 95% participation rate. Yes, ESSA also recognizes the right of parents to opt out, but that does not mean that we can't hold you responsible for what they choose to do.
In fact, we like this regulatory principle so much, we have whipped up some regulatory extensions of this great idea.
We note with alarm that more and more of our younger children are unattractive. We are also concerned that parents are selecting clothing for their children without proper regard for aesthetic qualities of the child's wardrobe. Therefore, if we determine that more than 5% of your state's children have been told, "You're ugly and your mother dresses you funny," we will be cutting your federal subsidy.
We believe children's health is suffering because they are being fed too many fried foods such as french fries. We would like to see healthier choices made, such as broccoli. Therefore, if we determine that more than 5% of your families are not feeding their children broccoli every night, we will be cutting a portion of your Title I funding.
We are concerned that American children are falling behind other countries in median height at age 8. We recognize that height is often genetic, and so we intend to encourage short people to procreate with tall people. If we find too many short people pro-creating with other short people in your state, we will slash all federal school funding.
Of course, most experts agree that even mild corporal punishment is inappropriate and bad for children. Therefore, if we discover that more than 5% of the parents in your districts ever spank their children, we will send somebody over from USED to punch one of your administrators in the face.
We are certain you share our belief that when adult citizens of the USA choose to exercise their rights in ways that are inconvenient to federal purposes, it is the state and local school system's responsibility to separate those citizens from their rights; and that it only make sense that systems which fail to convince those citizens to give up their rights should be punished. Parents may have a federally-recognized right to opt out, but schools have a federally-imposed responsibility to keep parents from exercising their rights.
We are aware that some critics have argued that schools have no control over factors such as parental choice. We believe that concern will be addressed in our upcoming letter in which we will outline our plan for tying federal school funding to the price of tea in China.