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Opt out letter circulates


School administrators are closely watching a letter campaign that’s taking place in the as school starts that could lead to even more children opting out of state standardized tests.

The campaign, taking place on Facebook and other social media, aims to send children to class on the first day of the school year with a letter signed by their parents saying they will not be taking the standardized tests this year.

Tim Kremer, with the New York State School Boards Association, says school boards are watching closely.

“I think children will be showing up on day one with those letters in hand,” said Kremer.

Although the third through eighth grade state math and English tests are not given until April, many schools in the first few days give what’s called a student learning objectives test, to collect baseline data for a second round of exams later in the year.

The letter advises that “refusing to participate in tests is a family decision and should be made with thought and care."

Twenty percent of students statewide boycotted the tests last April. The state’s new education commissioner, MaryEllen Elia, says she wants to help parents better understand why taking the tests are important, but says ultimately, they have the right to opt out of the exams.