Friday, July 31, 2015

PA Education Legislation Update and Action

There are three pieces of legislation that will have an impact on the Keystone exam graduation requirement.  Please consider writing to the PA House Education members and urging them to support removing the Keystone exam graduation requirement (sample letter and contact information is below).  These are the 3 bills currently being discussed and potentially voted on.

Parents, teachers, administrators, students and taxpayers - please consider writing to the House Education Committee and urge them to support HB 172 that would remove the Keystone graduation requirement.  Sample letter and contact information is below.

SB 880

SB 880 will delay the Keystone graduation requirement for 2 years, moving the grad requirement back to the class of 2019.  SB 880 passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously 49-0 on June 29, 2015.  It is now in the House Education Committee waiting to be brought to a vote. You can read more about SB 880 HERE

HB 172

HB 172 will remove the Keystone graduation requirement.  This bill was referred to the House Education Committee on January 23, 2015 but there has been no discussion or movement on this bill.  This bill has been brought up again by a few legislators after the House Education Hearings on July 29, 2015.  You can read more about HB 172 HERE

HB 168

HB 168 would leave the Keystone graduation requirement up to each school district.  While local control is a good thing, having the option of some school districts using the Keystone graduation requirement is not.  You can read more about HB 168 HERE

Sample letter:

Dear Represenative,  
I am a parent/student in _____________ school district, in ___________ county.  I urge you to support removing the Keystone graduation requirement.  SB 880 which delays the use of the Keystone exams as a graduation requirement until the class of 2019 would help students who are currently oppressed with burdensome remedial classes and re-testing.  
Please consider supporting HB 172 which removes the Keystone graduation requirement.  This would allow teachers and students to gain more instructional time to prepare for college or employment.
The Keystone exam graduation requirement is an unfunded mandate that deters from instructional time and student advancement.  SB 880 is urgent and HB 172 is even more relevant and urgent – this unfunded and burdensome graduation mandate is creating havoc in every Pennsylvania school district. 
Your Name

E-Mails of All Members of House Education Committee for Group E-mail
(copy and paste into email),, Mreese@pahousegop.comCStaats@pahousegop.comwtal

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

July 29th - PA State House Ed Committee Public Hearing

The PA State House Education Committee is holding a public hearing on assessments in Harrisburg Wednesday July 29th at 10AM in room G50 of the Irvis Building, 450 Commonwealth Ave, Harrisburg PA 17120-0303.  This hearing is meant to be an overview of PA’s current system of assessments (PSSAs and Keystone Exams) to discuss general information on State testing, the current status of State testing, areas of concern, and improvements that could be made.

There is growing concern about the negative effects of high stakes testing.  There is a tremendous need to demonstrate to our state legislators how many Pennsylvanians are upset about the testing landscape in our public schools.  A strong and unified showing is essential at this hearing.  Concerned parents are encouraged to attend the hearing wearing green T-shirts.  Concerned educators are encouraged to attend wearing blue T-shirts.  The following can be written on your shirt to ensure a unified and positive message: "Less testing = more..." and then choose your own word.  Creativity, inspiration, hands on time, time to learn, passion, freedom are some examples.

If you are an educator or district administrator in PA with a unique view on the negative impacts on high stakes testing, please consider submitting written testimony by Monday the 27th to the following contact: Jonathan Berger, Executive Director, Education Committee (R) PA House of Representatives at  Ask that your comments be entered into the hearing record, and your testimony will be disseminated to all committee members prior to the hearing.  For resources on relevant legislation and opting out of high stakes tests visit

All media inquiries should be directed to Dawn Sweeney at for comment.