Saturday, September 17, 2016

NEW Keystone Exams for Students in 2017 or 2018

Thanks to Senator Dinniman, we have recourse for students in the class of 2017 and 2018 who are being placed in remedial classes, PBA, and/or 'required' to re-take the Keystone Exam(s).  Senator Dinniman had a Town Hall meeting  on September 12, 2016 and explained his plan to file amicus briefs on behalf of parents to file a lawsuit against the PDE.  During that meeting it was explained:
 An amicus brief would be filed by a legislator such as Senator Dinniman (who is not specifically affected by the action) on behalf of students/families that are directly impacted by the issue at hand. Possible examples of those who are directly impacted by the Keystone graduation requirement are: 
1. A student who has been prevented from receiving a high school diploma in 2016 as a result of not testing Proficient on one or more Keystones; 
2. A student who is being forced to take the Keystones repeatedly over the next several years (which could result in injurious consequences -- perhaps psychologically -- such as affecting the student’s mental health); 
3. A student who, as a result of not having passed a Keystone, is being placed in remedial courses and/or is required to take a type of Project Based Assessment (whether or not it is called by that name). Inordinate amounts of time spent on remediation could prevent the student from reaching his full educational potential in that it could preclude him from taking courses that would be more related to his individual educational pursuits and/or vocational goals. 
The first step:  parents request in writing (email is best) to their principal and superintendent that their child will not take the Keystone exams and/or is to be removed from from the PBA, and any remedial Keystone class.  The next step would be to contact Senator Dinniman for an amicus brief.  Below is a sample letter.

Dear Superintendent and Principal, 
Pleased be advised that pursuant to Act 1, (student name) will not take the Keystone exam and is to be immediately removed from the PBA and/or remedial class that (student name) was placed in that requires proficiency due to not passing the Keystone exam.  

If this request is denied please provide in writing a statement explaining the reason.  If (student name) is not removed from the PBA/or remedial class, then I will be submitting an amicus brief to Senator Andy Dinniman for the purpose of a lawsuit.

For your reference, Act 1 says:

(1)  Notwithstanding section 2604-B(b)(2)(v), 22 Pa. Code § 4.24 (relating to high school graduation requirements), 4.51 (relating to State assessment system) or 4.51c (relating to project-based assessment) or any statute or regulation to the contrary, the use of the Keystone Exams as a graduation requirement or as a benchmark for the need for participation in a project-based assessment shall be delayed until the 2018-2019 school year.

I look forward to your confirmation that (student name) has been removed from the PBA/or remedial class and will not be taking the Keystone exams.


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