By Lisa Esler
There is strong opposition to the new graduation requirement mandated by the Pennsylvania Board of Education. Effective with the Class of 2017, every high school student must pass the Keystone Exams in algebra, literature and biology in order to graduate.
This gives a whole new meaning to what is known as “teaching to the test.” Testing has turned teachers into technicians who are forced to educate in a one-size-fits-all approach. That is the reason so many talented, discouraged teachers have left and will continue to leave the profession. Whatever happened to trusting the teacher to evaluate the child’s progress? Furthermore, when students do not pass the Keystone Exams, financially strapped school districts then have to bear the cost of hiring remedial teachers and or providing alternative project-based assessments. Also, students who might have had above average classroom achievement, but somehow didn’t do well on the test, must take that course again the following year, forgoing other electives or needed credits.
There must be push back against the state Board of Education for declaring another unfunded mandate that hurts the school districts financially and, even worse, undermines the teachers and students by evaluating their success solely by a standardized test score.
Time, money and the children are too precious to waste on yet another unfunded mandate demanded by those unelected, unaccountable regulatory bureaucrats in the state Department of Education who bypass the legislators whenever they can with their so-called “cost-neutral” experiments.
Our elected legislators need to enact common-sense education reforms about standards, testing and student privacy rights. Plus they must return control to the local level where it belongs with teachers, parents and school boards determining what is best for their children.
Alert other parents, grandparents and taxpayers. We must sound the alarm bell in Harrisburg and demand meaningful, sensible education reforms. Now!
Mrs. Esler is a member of the Penn Delco School Board in Delaware County, Pa.
Keystone Exams Waste Time And Children