Keystone exams delayed until 2019
January 20, 2016 2:30 PM
By Mary Niederberger and Janice Crompton / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“School officials are breathing a sigh of relief at the state Legislature’s approval of a two-year delay in requiring students to pass the Keystone exams in order to graduate.”
As PPS searches for an new Superintendent, this article is worth reviewing for one reason and that is to answer the question: Is PPS preparing our students with the basic minimum competency skills to be successful in college or careers?
The answer is a resounding “NO” for the majority of its 25,000 students!
PPS district has ranked among PA’s 30 lowest-achieving schools for the last 10 years. Mark Roosevelt became the PPS Superintendent in 2005.
Although Keystone’s and PSSA have been re-configured over the past five year, these tests are the 90% of the same “basic skills” in Reading and Math that Pennsylvania has had in place since 1998.
These are SCHOOL Assessments (PSSA & Keystone) are given ONE time EACH YEAR in Elementary (K-8) and ONE time ONLY in Secondary (8-12) to determine the degree to which schools are preparing students with minimum competency skills.
When students cannot score as “proficient” on these assessments, the SCHOOLS have not met the criteria for which schools exist. A school’s responsibility is to educate its students, all of the students who attend.
PPS has declined in meeting this basic responsibility in the majority of its schools over the last ten years. In fact, more than 7,000 African American students have NOT been prepared by our schools to meet even the minimum “BASIC” skills. PPS is NOT serving/educating in an egregiously devastating manner the needs of its students.
A new Superintendent must have a plan to move PPS students out of lowest 10% in the state of PA. Our children are bright, even brilliant, in every way except for the “academics” that our schools exist to provide!
(POSTPONING teaching and assessing the basic minimum competency skills until 2019 is not a solution!)