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New York Schools Will Not Lose Funding Over Opt-Outs

Yesterday, New York's chancellor of the State Board of Regents Merryl H. Tisch confirmed that neither the state Department of Education nor the federal Department will be withholding funding from districts for the 200,000 student opt-outs of state exams last spring.

The confirmation is relief for New York's public schools, as the threat of funding loss has been looming ever since the beginning of the wide-spread opt-out movement last testing season.

"As recently as last week, the state education commissioner, MaryEllen Elia, said that she was not sure if the federal Education Department would withhold money from districts with high opt-out rates. She declined to rule out the possibility that the state would do so on its own," said The New York Times.

In a statement, Tisch said she believed that withdrawing funding would not be an appropriate measure in dealing with the opt-outs because, in the end, children would be the ones who suffer needlessly.

The confirmation further solidifies the waning impact of the long-expired No Child Left Behind Act, which requires states and districts ensure that 95% of its student population is tested; for states not in compliance, the federal government has the right under the act to withdraw funding.

Despite 20 percent of New York students not taking the exams, the state will face no repercussions from the federal government. Instead, Tisch said, next month Elia will present a plan to work with districts with high opt-out rates to figure out how to "reverse the tide of test refusals," The Times said.

Tisch did not completely remove the threat of funding loss, however, according to The Times. She said that if districts were found to be encouraging opt-outs, punishment would be sought out.

Read the full article here and comment with your thoughts below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

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