Carroll to propose moratorium on Keystone Exams as graduation requirement

HARRISBURG, May 28 – State Rep. Mike Carroll, D-Luzerne/Lackawanna, will introduce an omnibus Public School Code bill that would establish a moratorium on Keystone Exams being used as a requirement for graduation.

Carroll said this suspension would benefit students and their families, while offering much-needed relief to school districts that face significant financial and educational obstacles to fully implement the graduation requirement.

"It has become ever more apparent to me that the linkage of Keystone exam passage to graduation is riddled with problems and that more thought is required to assess students with a wide range of abilities," said Carroll, a member of the House Education Committee. "A one-size-fits-all approach seldom works in the real word and the Keystone exam requirement is no exception."

Carroll said this provision of his pending bill complements an effort by state Sen. Andy Dinniman, D-Chester, Democratic chairman of the Senate Education Committee.

Carroll's bill also will include all of Gov. Tom Wolf's education code changes, except that his bill will go beyond Wolf's plan to ensure fairness in special education funding for both charter and cyber charter schools. It will seek to accomplish this by applying the special education formula recommended by the Special Education Funding Commission to both charter and cyber charter schools.

Another key difference between the Wolf plan and Carroll's bill is that Carroll would allow school districts to continue applying for state reimbursement through the Department of Education for new school building construction and reconstruction, known as PlanCON.

Most years, a Public School Code bill is passed as a trailer bill to the final budget agreement. "I’m hopeful the Public School Code provisions suggested by the administration, combined with these three important modifications, will be embraced by the General Assembly and the Department of Education as the budget process unfolds," Carroll said.