To Supporters of Ending Common Core Exams in Pennsylvania:
Despite Act 1 of 2016, which suspended any use of the Keystone exams or the Project Based Assessments for graduation purposes during the two year period of 2016-18, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is blatantly ignoring the law and issuing directives to local school districts to use the exam if they want to for graduation.
It certainly appears that PDE has shown their solid commitment to the Common Core testing process and the continued collection of data. They don’t seem to care about or respect the law. This is not government by the elected legislature but government by the bureaucracy.
You will be interested to learn the taxpayers of Pennsylvania, since 2008, spent $1.1 billion on these Common Core tests, with $741 million of that going to one testing company, Data Recognition Corporation (DRC).
Please view the supporting material at the following links:
1. An explanation of the Data Recognition Corp. (DRC) contracts.
2. A chart showing the DRC contracts, which come to $741,158,039.60, and the total paid to date of $440,512,625.69.
3. A listing of material requested from PDE but, as of this date, not provided.
4. A column from the July 23, 2016 New York Times providing background on these Common Core Exams, which in Pennsylvania are the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) and Keystone Exams.Additionally, it appears that PDE is forcing the children of parents who opted out to take the Project Based Assessment, whose use is currently suspended by the legislature. There seems to be no respect by PDE for the rights of parents concerning their own children.
So the question now is “what will we do about this situation?” If you know parents or organizations who might want to take PDE to court or file amicus briefs, let me know.
In the meantime, I am having a meeting for those concerned about PDE’s actions in my district office, One North Church Street, West Chester, on Monday, September 12th, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
This is a matter of great importance. A number of us have been working for years against excessive testing and have serious concerns about Common Core. Please invite your friends to join in the September 12th meeting.
Andrew E. Dinniman
State Senator, 19th District