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High State Testing Opt-Out Rates Being Reported In Some Westchester Schools

Valhalla Union Free School District was among the local school districts reporting high state assessment test "opt-out" rates on Tuesday, although the opt-outs are down slightly from last year.
Valhalla Union Free School District was among the local school districts reporting high state assessment test "opt-out" rates on Tuesday, although the opt-outs are down slightly from last year. Photo Credit: File photo

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- The first "opt out" rates on this week's standardized state tests are coming in -- and like last year -- some of them are high.

Elmsford Union Free School District reported that about 58 percent of parent's of eighth graders refused to allow their children to take this week's English Language Arts Assessment tests.

At Valhalla Union Free School District, nearly 28 percent of the 352 students in grades six through eight opted out this week, according to school officials.

That's actually down from last year when about 35 percent of Valhalla's students in grades six through eight opted out.

This week, a total of 44 of 308 Valhalla pupils in grades three through five opted out (14 percent) -- also down from last year's 23 opt-out rate at the elementary school level as reported here by Daily Voice.

The opt-out numbers were lower in the Rye Central School District where about 10 percent of the 814 students at Rye Middle School opted out, a school district spokeswoman said today.

About 7 percent of Rye's 799 elementary school children opted out of this week's ELA state tests, the spokeswoman said.

In Elmsford, about 9 percent of its third graders opted out this week, about 13 percent of fourth-graders opted out, about 22 percent of fifth graders opted out, about 28 percent of sixth graders opted out, about 38 percent of seventh graders and about 55 percent of eighth graders.

That brought the district-wide average to 28 opting out in Elmsford, or a total of 124 of its 437 students eligible to take the ELA state tests. An average of about 10 percent of Elmsford's students opted out last year, according to Superintendent Joseph L. Ricca.

Standardized tests in math for about one million public school children statewide are next week.

Since the Common Core Learning Standards were enacted several years ago, many parents, educators and elected officials have banded together in their opposition of standardized testing, which some charge forces teachers to “teach to the test,” while adding undue stress on students, whose assessments are closely tied to the exams.

As a result, tens of thousands of students, whether on behest of their parents or schools, have boycotted the tests in an attempt to send a message to officials, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

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