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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: December 11, 2014 11:07 AM
From: Representative John A. Lawrence
To: All House members
Subject: Providing Flexibility in High School Graduation Requirements (Former HB 1997)
Dear Colleagues -

As you are likely aware, under current regulations, high school students will be required to pass the Keystone Exams beginning in 2017 in order to graduate high school. The State Board of Education has proposed limited exceptions to policy, which include taking the Keystones again and taking remedial courses to take the Keystones yet again. As one who is hesitant about pinning a student’s graduation on a single “high stakes” test, I am working on legislation that would allow students to have some options in order to graduate high school.

Everyone has heard the horror stories about students graduating high school unable to read their own diploma, and certainly everyone agrees that we do not want students graduating high school without a basic skill set. Everyone agrees there should be high standards. Everyone agrees that we should ensure a high school diploma is worth something. Everyone agrees that students should graduate high school ready to enter the labor force, the military, or college. Not everyone agrees that a single test should be the measurement by which a student makes the cut or not.

Thus, I plan to re-introduce legislation that would give flexibility to all students while ensuring their diploma is worth the paper it is printed on. Under this proposal, in order to receive a high school diploma in Pennsylvania, a student would have to:
*Pass the Keystone exams in math and English OR
*Earn a certain score on the SAT OR
*Earn a certain score on the ACT OR
*Earn a score of 3, 4, or 5 on an AP exam in the subject area of math or English OR
*Earn a score of 60 or above on ASVAB AFQT military entrance exam

This proposal is patterned from the graduation requirements in Washington state. Again, the idea is to give students options rather than have everything ride on one test. Your cosponsorship and support of this approach would be appreciated.

Introduced as HB268