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Bill to Offer H.S. Graduation Alternative to the Keystone Exams Advances in Senate
UPDATE: This legislation unanimously passed the full Senate on June 22. It now goes to the House.
HARRISBURG (June 13, 2018) – The Senate Education Committee today unanimously passed legislation to provide alternative pathways to graduation in place of the controversial Keystone Exams, state Senator Andy Dinniman said.
“After years of working to roll back the ridiculous graduation requirement associated with these high-stakes standardized tests, we are now closer than ever before to success,” Dinniman, who serves as minority chair of the Senate Education Committee, said. “It’s been a long journey and it’s good to finally see a light at the end of the tunnel, but we won’t stop until we get there.”
Under current law, beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, high school students will have to pass Keystone Exams in three subject areas (Algebra I, Biology and Literature) in order to earn a diploma.
Under Senate Bill 1095, passed today by the Senate Education Committee, students have several alternative ways to graduate, besides passing the Keystones.
“We started with a small group and that has now grown into a full-blown bipartisan coalition of parents, teachers, school administrators, and lawmakers,” Dinniman said. “And we all agree that one exam dictated by state bureaucrats with no input from a student’s classroom instructor should not be the final and sole determinate of graduation. That is not only unfair. It’s even not a good indicator of a student’s ability and college or career readiness.”
The bill, sponsored by Senator Tom McGarrigle and amended with input from Dinniman, Senator Robert “Tommy” Tomlinson, and the committee’s majority chair, Senator John Eichelberger, now has two potential paths forward to final passage.
According to Dinniman, it could either go through the legislature and to the governor’s desk, or be amended onto the school code that is passed each year as part of the budget process.
“The fastest way to get this passed is to amend it onto the school code and I’ll work to see that happen,” Dinniman said.