Krueger-Braneky chairs Policy Committee hearing on graduation requirements and high stakes testing

ASTON, Sept. 12 – State Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing to discuss the future of high stakes testing and graduation requirements in Pennsylvania.

“There were issues with the Keystone Exams from the very beginning, including trouble implementing the exams and unintended consequences negatively impacting our students,” Krueger-Braneky said. “The legislature did the right thing by hitting the pause button on them, but it’s not enough to simply say wait. I've heard from so many students, teachers, parents and administrators who explain to me how the current system isn't working. We must make a change."

Senate Bill 880, which was signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf as Act 1 of 2016, delays the implementation of the Keystone Exams. Before the passage of Act 1, students would have had to pass Keystone Exams in Algebra I, Literature and Biology as a condition of graduation. If a passing score was not achieved after two attempts at the exam, a project-based assessment would have been required.

“Rep. Krueger-Braneky's hearing today was a great start to the discussion on Keystone Exams,” said Rep. Mike Sturla, chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee. “A great use of our state's resources would be spending more time helping students prepare for the future instead of just spending time on testing that doesn't give the big picture of student success. After recent years of failed testing and underfunding of public schools, it's time we get it right. Rep. Krueger-Brankey is at the forefront of this needed change.”

Testifiers included Matt Stem, deputy secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Education Office of Elementary and Secondary Education; Dr. George Steinhoff, superintendent, Penn-Delco School District; Jerry Oleksiak, president, Pennsylvania State Education Association; John Callahan, assistant executive director, Pennsylvania School Boards Association; Lawrence Feinberg, founder and co-chairman, Keystone State Education Coalition; Donna Cooper, executive director, Public Citizens for Children and Youth.

Hearing materials and additional information about the Policy Committee are available at www.pahouse.com/PolicyCommittee