State Senator Jane Orie (R) of Allegheny County led the charge today for a plethora of opponents to the newly re-proposed Keystone Exams. The graduation exams have been frozen in place by the state legislature and lawmakers of both parties show no sign of agreeing to the tests’ latest format, which they say has incorrectly been called a compromise.
Orie says even Governor Ed Rendell, the Keystone Exams’ prime sponsor, says the current PSSA graduation tests are working because of their flexibility. “You can remediate, you can intervene, and you can improve test scores, and we’ve been saying that all along. When you look at this, it leaves you to question why in God’s name, when we’re finally making progress with these PSSAs, are we now gonna take our children and use them as lab rats and implement a whole new test?” says Orie.
North Allegheny School District Superintendent Patricia Green says the state isn’t prepared to start these tests – pre-testing, a safety net for failing students, and ways to deal with resultant dropouts are all “hidden costs” that will add to taxpayers’ burdens. She says her district achieves high scores by emphasizing good teaching, not more tests, and the government would be better to put their money toward the former.
State Representative Bill Kortz (D) of Allegheny County added his voice to the dissenters, along with a letter from the local branch of the NAACP. The letter says the latest proposition might “provide the power to discriminate against citizens.”