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Supporters Urge Parents to Opt-Out of State Testing

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Students in schools across New York will be sitting down for the first round of standardized tests Tuesday, but many Central New York parents are refusing to allow their kids to take the exams.

Students in grades three to eight will be asked to sit for six days of state-mandated common core testing, but some students won’t be tested after parents are opting their kids out of the exams.

The opt-out movement has gained attention and momentum this year after Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed tying results to teacher evaluations.

Last year, about 1.1 million students took the state-mandated English language arts and math tests, down from about 1.2 million the year before.

The test refusals could mean lost funding for school districts.

The state Education Department has threatened to sanction schools that have test participation rates below 95 percent.

Schools that do not meet participation levels stand to lose millions in funding. Schools can lose federal money for special education and Title I, which helps students who are struggling with reading.

State educators credit the exams to spotting learning gaps in districts and monitoring overall student performance around the state.

Parents opting their child out of Tuesday’s exam should check the school policy on alternatives to sitting out for their child.

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