Recently, school officials in El Paso were investigated and found guilty of pushing certain students out of school to prevent them from taking the state tests. The purpose was to boost the district’s scores and make it appear to be doing better than it was. Some children were literally excluded from school and never finished. The superintendent was convicted and sentenced to jail. This was disgraceful, and it was an indictment of the officials’ personal ethics, but also an indictment of the absurd high-stakes testing regime foisted on the nation by No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. School officials in some district will do literally anything to get their scores up, even though it hurts children. This is wrong. And the system which it incentivizes this behavior is also wrong.

This blogger has a different take on the El Paso incident. He tends to view it as an example of “opting out” of testing. He longs for the day that “No Child Shows Up.”

Of course, if the superintendent in El Paso had told all children to stay home on testing day, he would now be a national hero to angry parents and educators. Instead, he is a convicted criminal because he did not have the best interests of children in mind. He told only the low-performing students to stay home or to drop out of school. He was not acting in their interest. He was acting from self-interest, trying to inflate the scores of his district.

Someday, all educators will have the courage to stop doing things that they know are educational malpractice.