State Democrats ask Corbett to scrap Keystone Exams as graduation requirement
HARRISBURG — Senate Democrats want Gov. Tom Corbett's administration to halt the use of Keystone Exams as a high school graduation requirement.
Democrats say it is a $300 million mandate that does not provide school districts with adequate financial resources to implement it.
“The implementation of these new standards should be reviewed thoroughly by the General Assembly,” Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Forest Hills, said on Monday at a news conference. “This whole new testing structure will cost taxpayers dearly, and it is being implemented without a full understanding of the benefits for students, teachers, administrators and taxpayers.”
Corbett's office referred comment to the Department of Education.
Tim Eller, Department of Education press secretary, said the department doesn't believe there will be a significant cost for schools administering the test because of changes to remove requirements such as a student graduation project and district strategic planning stipulations.
“Those requirements are lifted, so it's kind of a shift instead of an additional requirement,” he said.
The exams assess students' proficiency in multiple subjects and are one component of the state's graduation requirements.
Democrats said the mandate violates a legislative agreement that the Keystone Exams would count for only a third of a student's subject grade. The agreement was not written into law but understood when the Keystone Exams were introduced in 2010 to replace the 11th grade Pennsylvania System of School Assessment test, said Sen. Andrew Dinniman, ranking Democrat on the Senate Education Committee.
“For the commonwealth to increase standards without the adequate fiscal resources is a charade,” said Dinniman, D-Chester County. “It is a sham that will only lead to false hope.”
The agreement limiting the impact of the Keystone Exams occurred during the Rendell administration, Eller said.
Sen. Jim Brewster, D-McKeesport, has proposed a bill to establish a bipartisan commission to assess student testing.
“School districts like Reading are drowning in red ink,” Sen. Judy Schwank, D-Berks County, said. “These new mandates … will make their financial plight even worse.”
Megan Rogers is an intern with the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents Association.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Mother, baby found dead in Millvale apartment
- PSU recruit Joseph to meet club pal, an Iowa recruit, in PIAA Class AAA semis
- Commentary: Grateful economics are Dead as fans pay through the nose
- Steelers sign former ACC Player of the Year Boyd for QB depth
- 2 found dead in Harrison home
- Polamalu could be next in long line of Steelers greats given unceremonial exit
- States’ attempts to curb campus sex assaults snag on complex issues of victims’, accusers’ rights
- Route 422 closed after serious accident in Kittanning Township
- McCandless-born writer found herself through ‘Orange’
- Over the falls — Cucumber Falls that is — go 3 kayakers in Ohiopyle
- No one hurt in Hempfield school bus, van crash