Published Online: April 21, 2015
Published in Print: April 22, 2015, as High Testing Opt-Out Rates Could Cost N.Y. Federal Funds

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High Testing Opt-Out Rates Could Cost N.Y. Federal Funds

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Federal officials are hinting that public schools in New York state with high opt-out rates during last week's standardized tests could face financial penalties.

But the state's top education official dismissed the possible loss of any funding as imprudent.

"I would say to everyone who wants to punish the school districts: Hold them to standards, set high expectations, hold them accountable, but punishing them? Really, are you kidding me?" said board of regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch.

Tens of thousands of parents across New York kept their children from participating in English/language arts standardized tests in grades 3-8.

For now, the threats coming from Washington are vague, at least publicly. But one thing is certain: Washington and Albany were clearly caught off guard by the high levels of students not taking the tests—70 percent or more in some districts.

In New Jersey, meanwhile, high school juniors opted out of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers exams at a rate nearly three times that of their counterparts in elementary and middle school, according to a preliminary report from the state education department.

A department memo said the combined parental-refusal rate was 14.5 percent of juniors. The refusal rate for students in grades 3-6 was 3.8 percent and a total of 4.6 percent for grades 3-8.

One news outlet reported that 38 percent of students in New Jersey's Montclair district, for example, didn't take the test.

Vol. 34, Issue 28, Page 4

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