Wednesday, May 14, 2008
The Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee heard testimony today on a proposal from the state Board of Education to require graduation competency exams (GCEs) in all public schools. The graduating class of 2014 would be the first to comply with the new regulations. Students would have to pass 10 exams in middle and high school proving competency in math, science, English, and social studies. Failing students could receive additional help and retest. More than 20 groups in the state oppose the plan for several reasons. The Pennsylvania State Education Association spokesman Wythe Keever says the state is trying to create higher standards without giving schools and students the means to achieve them, because there is no additional funding. He says they're not against GCE's, but think the state should look at alternatives to paper and pencil tests for students to showcase their education. A better solution for the system, Keever says, is to invest at the elementary level. New Board of Education regulations have to pass the state House and Senate.