Dear Parent(s):

First of all, let me convey my sincerest congratulations on the birth of your son/daughter. Parenting brings both joy and great responsibility. The federal government believes that well-educated children must master certain standards to build a stronger nation. The future of the United States is now in your hands. Again, my warmest congratulations.

Within this packet, you will find 26 multiple-choice tests, as well as 26 corresponding Scantron answer documents and 10 No. 2 pencils. You are to administer the tests to your child, one each week for the next six months. Toward the end of this six-month period, you will receive another packet, with tests for the following six months. The administration of these tests is of the utmost importance, for they will help us monitor your child’s educational development. The tests must be completed by your child, then returned in the self-addressed envelopes also enclosed.

Take a few moments to glance through the tests. You will notice that each one has 75 questions, ranging from such basic concepts as letter recognition to more difficult items on advanced applied calculus and quantum physics. Please understand, your infant is not expected to answer every question correctly. The federal government is aware of the fact that very few infants, if any, will accurately complete the final problems of the assessment. Let me explain the rationale behind including these more challenging questions.

In the field of education, these tests are known as “benchmark assessments.” By testing your child on concepts he or she has not yet mastered but will eventually be expected to master, the federal government can track your child’s learning progress. A benchmark assessment will show exactly when your child has mastered a particular standard. In other words, although your infant will most likely be unable to determine the value of a variable in a pre-algebraic equation, by the end of first grade he or she will be expected to exhibit a competency in this area. And the good news is that, by that time, your child’s teacher will be administering the tests, not you. You are only responsible for the tests to be administered before your child enters an educational institute.

You may be wondering how the federal government will use these numbers. The scores your child receives will help determine his or her learning level. If your child scores very well, he or she will immediately be placed with other children who have attained a similar ranking. These children will be taught at an advanced pace, ensuring that the intellects of the most gifted students will not be neglected while the teacher painstakingly instructs the slower learners. The converse is also true. If your child is a slow learner, he or she will be consigned to an institute that serves the academically challenged, and he or she will be instructed at a remedial pace. This will guarantee your child an educational experience catering specifically to his or her particular needs.

If you have any reservations about this system, let me remind you that these are federally mandated requirements under the No Child Left Behind 2012 legislation, and they carry with them the weight of law. Any parent who does not conform to the letter of the law will find their federal funding, in the form of child tax credits, tax refunds, government assistance in any form, etc., immediately revoked. Also, the child of nonconforming parents will be barred from attending public school. Furthermore, if your child is consistently performing below a certain level on the tests, which would indicate that you, as a parent, are not preparing your child well enough for his or her future, the federal government has the right to take over the parenting of your child to ensure that his or her best educational interests are met.

One final note: Federal test-administration monitors will occasionally drop by your house when it’s time for that week’s testing. Please welcome them and allow them to carry out their duties without obstruction.

Congratulations again on the birth of your first child! Together, you as parents, along with the federal government, will create a better future for every child in this great nation.


Margaret Spellings
U.S. Secretary of Education