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Talking About Testing, or, Big Sibling Is Watching

By Diogenes (bio - articles ) | Jun 15, 2003

A story in this morning's Boston Herald shows how the nanny state has finally resolved the vexing problem of defining the family. Forget irrelevances such as marriage, propagation, a common domicile, parental responsibility. What matters is who compels whom to take standardized tests:

A legal battle over two home-schooled children exploded into a seven-hour standoff yesterday, when they refused to take a standardized test ordered by the Department of Social Services.

George Nicholas Bryant, 15, and Nyssa Bryant, 13, stood behind their parents, Kim and George, as police and DSS workers attempted to collect the children at 7:45 a.m. DSS demanded that the two complete a test to determine their educational level.

The second refusal came after an emotion-filled morning for the family, when DSS workers sternly demanded the Bryants comply with their orders. "We have legal custody of the children and we will do with them as we see fit," DSS worker Susan Etscovitz told the Bryants in their Gale Street home. "They are minors and they do what we tell them to do."

There was a time when that last remark would have sparked considerable outrage in Boston, and perhaps in most American communities.

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