Subscribe to E-Newsletter November 6, 2013

Dear Friend,

Senator DinnimanI want to update you on the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s continued campaign to quickly and quietly implement the Keystone Graduation Exams – a plan that will set back all of our efforts to reform public education and reduce property taxes.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania State Board of Education have proposed the Keystone Graduation Exams to the Pennsylvania Independent Regulatory Review Commission, which is set to vote on them on Nov. 21.

If approved, Pennsylvania would usher in new high-stakes tests in Algebra 1, biology and literature that students must pass in order to graduate, regardless of their grade point average. That means high school students beginning with current freshman (Class of 2017) will face the possibility of passing all their classes but failing a Keystone Exam and not getting a diploma.

If approved, local school districts will be saddled with a massive unfunded mandate. The Department of Education has no plan to pay for the implementation of the Keystones, which are estimated to cost more than $300 million. That means the buck will be passed to taxpayers in the form of unprecedented school property tax hikes.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education and State Board of Education are combining the exams with new academic standards, and by doing so have made it impossible to reject one while supporting the other. The only way to stop the high-stakes exams – and this new unfunded mandate on local schools – is to have the IRRC reject the entire proposed Final-Form Chapter 4 regulations and send them back to the Pennsylvania State Board of Education for further review and changes.

I urge you to write or e-mail the IRRC and ask its members to reject the proposed Chapter 4 regulations. I encourage you to take a look at the supplementary materials that I have made available on my web site, along with a statement I prepared titled, “8 Reasons Why We Oppose the Keystone Graduation Exams.”

Public comment must be received at least 48 hours prior to the IRRC’s Thursday, Nov. 21 meeting – in other words, by 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 19.

Your comments will become part of the public record and will be reviewed by the five IRRC commissioners. To submit your comments by e-mail, send to IRRC Executive Director David Sumner at To submit by mail, send to

Independent Regulatory Review Commission
David Sumner, Executive Director
333 Market Street, 14th Floor
Harrisburg, Pa. 17101

You also have a right to testify at the IRRC’s Nov. 21 meeting, which will begin at 10 a.m. and take place in Room NOB 1 in the Main Capitol’s North Office Building. It is recommended that those planning to testify contact the IRRC by e-mail, letter or phone (717-783-5506) ahead of time. Additional information for testifiers can be found at

I urge you to submit comments and to ask others to do the same through e-mail, web sites, social media or personal conversations. I also hope that a number of you will join me in Harrisburg on Nov. 21 to either testify at the IRRC meeting or to support those that do testify.

Together we can defeat the unfair and expensive Keystone Graduation Exams before it’s too late.

I hope to see you there.


Andy Dinniman
State Senator - 19th District


Offices of State Senator Andy Dinniman


District Office
One North Church Street
West Chester, PA 19380
Phone: 610.692.2112
Fax: 610.436.1721
Monday-Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Harrisburg Office
Senate Box 203019
183 Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3019
Phone: 717.787.5709
Fax: 717.787.4384

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