PA State Board of Educations Vote to Promote Keystone Exams to Next Level Gets Failing Grade Among Parents in Urban Communities sign now

Harrisburg, PA- The State Board of Educations 14-2 vote to advance through to the states regulatory review process a proposal to implement an assessment that would measure students competency in English, math, science and social science is receiving a failing grade from parents of children in urban school districts throughout the Commonwealth.

State Board chairman Joseph Torsella said, kids going into seventh grade this September will have brighter futures when they graduate high school because of this action.

With urban schools currently struggling to overcome a variety of issues in urban education, there are parents who do not agree with the ideal of a brighter future being determined by a test. Their ideal of a brighter future is ensuring competency at every grade level.

When a child has already spent most of their life in a classroom, to finally reach 11th grade, a time that provides a foreseeable end to finally graduating from school, to be told they cant graduate because they missed something somewhere, very possibly in kindergarten through tenth grades, waiting so long to detect the issue is actually detrimental to their future, says Tiffiney Penn, President of Tiffiney Penn & Associates, a training and consulting firm that specializes in creating partnerships with individuals, schools, businesses, and community organizations to address educational issues in urban schools.

Penns firm is overseeing an effort to provide support to parents to circulate a petition urging the reconsideration of how and when assessments should be administered. Several parents and grandparents of school-aged children have come together to circulate petitions to seek support on the local, state and national levels to raise awareness and open discussion about the possibility of constructing the Keystone Exams in such a way that they can be administered at the end of each completed grade level.

Penn says, Norfolk Public Schools administer the PAL and SOL every year. If deemed necessary and unavoidable, children having to be retained at an earlier age is less of an issue for parents, rather than at 15, 16 or 17 which is a really crucial stage in their overall development.

The states regulatory process could take up to three to six months for completion. The parents are hoping to have at least 1,000-signed petitions in the mailbox of Tiffiney Penn & Associates by the end of September supporting their efforts.

I hereby petition the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the attorney general, House and Senate education committees and the Independent Regulatory Review Commission to reassess how the proposed Keystone Exams will be administered. While I support a means of assessing a students competency, I am in agreement with other petitioners that it would be more beneficial to students throughout Pennsylvania if an assessment was to be administered at the completion of every grade level rather than only in 11th grade and also such that the assessment is not determinate of a students eligibility for graduation.

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Valarie GallagherBy:
Culture and SocietyIn:
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PA State Board

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