Students at two high-profile middle schools in New York City yesterday started a protest movement wielding letters giving them permission to sit out this year's state exams, which began yesterday. Critics say the tests detract from some schools' more rigorous curricula. The events in the city follow a boycott of the state's reading test last year in affluent Scarsdale by a group of mothers. A bill before the New York State Assembly would force the state Board of Regents to consider alternatives to standardized testing, such as portfolios of student work.
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