Chester County Lawmaker Complains of Unfunded
A Chester County state senator says the new high stakes Keystone Exams that
high school students will have to pass in the future in order to get their
diploma is nothing more than an unfunded state mandate on school districts.
Dinniman says it’s time for state lawmakers, many of whom regularly campaign
and speak out against unfunded state mandates, to oppose the Keystone Exams
which the state Department of Education is going to require students to pass in
order to earn their high school diploma.
higher standard testing has been approved by the State Board of Education and
is now being reviewed by the Governor’s Office.
Corbett supports the Keystone Exams as a high stakes test for high school
graduation, so it’s expected that his office will sign-off on the
requirement. Once that occurs, and
there’s no timetable at this point, the Keystone Exams requirement goes to the
Independent Regulatory Review Commission for final approval.
Dinniman says the requirement will also be sent to the Senate and House
Education committees for review and comment. He strongly suggests that lawmakers voice their objections and
disapproval to this unfunded state mandate.
Dinniman says that, as a result of state funding cuts to public education by
the current administration and legislature, many school districts have trimmed
tutoring programs, early education programs, and other electives. He says many school districts, especially
poorer ones, cannot afford the added cost of implementing the Keystone Exams as
a requirement for graduation unless they receive additional funding from the
state – and that doesn’t seem likely to happen under the current
Dinniman says although the state Department of Education has declined to say
how much it will cost Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts to implement the
Keystone Exams, he believes a conservative estimate is $300 million.
standards would affect this year’s ninth grade class which is scheduled to
graduate in 2017, if they pass the Keystone Exams.