Friday, February 27, 2009

Graduate Competency Exam Update

I received an email from the Pennsylvania School Board Association that had an update regarding the GCAs. Please see below:
And the counts are climbing! At the latest count, 77 members of the House have officially agreed to cosponsor legislation to be introduced by Rep. Stan Saylor (R-York) that would prohibit the Department of Education from expending resources to make changes to any component of high school graduation requirements, pending approval from the General Assembly.

Please call your House member and ask him or her to cosponsor this legislation and to contact Saylor's office at (717) 783-6426, or Last session, Saylor sponsored legislation under HB 2452 prohibiting the Department of Education from developing the GCAs without the express authority to do so by the General Assembly. That bill had 113 cosponsors, and we would like to see that number exceeded in this new session. 135 votes are needed to override a veto from the governor.

The 77 cosponsors include:

Rep. Saylor and Representatives Adoph, Argall, Baker, Bear, Briggs, Brooks, Buxton, Caltagirone, Causer, Civera, Clymer, Costa, Cutler, Dally, Denlinger, DiGirolamo, Drucker, Everett, Fleck, Geist, Gibbons, Gingrich, Goodman, Grell, Grove, Grucela, Harhart, Harris, Hess, Hickernell, Hornaman, Kauffman, M. Keller, Killion, Kortz, Kotik, Longietti, Mandarino, Marshall, McIllvaine Smith, Melio, Mensch, Metcalf, Micozzie, Miller, Milne, Moul, Murt, Oberlander, O'Brien, Pallone, Pashinski, Peifer, Petri, Pickett, Quinn, Rapp, Reichley, Roae, Rohrer, Ross, Sainato, Santoni, Schroder, Siptroth, M. Smith, S. Smith, Stern, Stevenson, Swanger, Tallman, J. Taylor, True, Turzai, Vitale, Vulakovich and Watson.

Please note that State Representative Matt Smith has co-sponsored this bill. On the State Senate side, Senator John Pippy has co-sponsored a similar bill along with Senator Jane Orie.

If the Governor is not getting how important this issue is to table, then at least we are seeing our locally elected officials step up. If you have a moment, please thank both Senator Pippy and Representative Smith for helping in this effort. Too often they hear complaints, here is a chance to give them some compliments.

Meanwhile, the State is continuing to hold hearings regarding this matter. This despite the fact that the organization that Governor Rendell cited as the one that recommended a GCA approach to college readiness has backed down on its support of such a solution. Please see this letter from PA State Representative Sam Smith. According to the letter, Achieve Inc. (of which Governor Rendell is a Board member) "has distanced itself from using graduation competency, end of course assessments as a means to determine whether students are proficient and ready for college and employment." You can see the entire Achieve report referenced by Representative Sam Smith here.

Thanks for reading.