2009-10-01 / Local & State

Hess Cosponsors Resolution Ordering Rendell Administration To Halt Development Of Keystone Exams

Rep. Dick Hess (R-Bedford/ Fulton/Huntingdon) last Thursday announced that he is cosponsoring a House resolution that would halt further development of the Keystone Exams by the Rendell administration until the General Assembly establishes a policy through the legislative process.

“The governor cannot unilaterally alter the system of education in Pennsylvania without consulting with and gaining approval of the Legislature,” Hess said. “Only the state House and state Senate have the constitutional authority to appropriate taxpayer money for the purposes outlined in law, including matters related to education.”

House Resolution 456, authored by Rep. Paul Clymer (RBucks), Republican chairman of the House Education Committee, and cosponsored by Rep. Hess, has significant bipartisan support in the House. The resolution calls on Gov. Ed Rendell and the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) to cease any further implementation and taxpayer funding of the Keystone Exams, which are 10 high school graduation competency tests that students would have to pass a majority of in order to graduate.

In 2008, the General Assembly passed House Bill 1067, which enacted a one-year moratorium on further development of the tests. During this time, the Pennsylvania Department of Education ignored the law and awarded a contract of more than $200 million to Data Recognition Corp. for the development and implementation of model curriculum, classroom diagnostic tools and assessments to be used as high school graduation requirements.

“During a time when the commonwealth is attempting to recover from the economic downturn, it is irresponsible to spend tax dollars on an initiative that is not needed and does not benefit students,” Hess said. “With a state budget still not in place for the 2009-10 fiscal year, we must use our limited resources to enhance student achievement and ensure our future generations have access to quality academic programs.”

The resolution is in the House Education Committee for consideration.

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