testsSchools with high rates of students opting out of standardized tests shouldn’t be penalized through a withholding of federal funds, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

Cuomo, speaking in Utica with reporters on Thursday, wouldn’t criticize parents for choosing to have their children not take the tests.

“I don’t believe there are sanctions for opt outs,” Cuomo said. “At the end of the day, parents are in charge and parents make the decisions.”

Figures released by the state Department of Education this month showed 20 percent of students statewide did not have a valid excuse to miss either the math or English language arts examinations in April, which were based on the controversial Common Core education standards.

Last year, about 5 percent of students did not take the examinations and provided a valid excuse, such as an illness.

Opting out of testing was encouraged by the state teachers union NYSUT, which has battled with Cuomo over education policy as well as the push for a new teacher performance evaluation in the state.

When releasing the results of the state exams, Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia raised the possibility of the federal government withholding funds for school districts with high opt rates.

Some school districts had nearly 90 percent of students opting out of the examinations.

More broadly, the results released by state education officials showed little improvement in student performance when it comes to math and English exams.

The results, released earlier this morning, showed 31.3 percent of students had “proficient” scores on the ELA examinations, while 38.1 percent had proficient results on the math tests.