HARRISBURG – On Monday, Rep. Mike Tobash (R-Schuylkill/Dauphin) joined his House colleagues in unanimously voting in favor of Senate Bill 880, legislation which would delay the implementation of the Keystone Exam as a graduation requirement until the 2018-19 school year.
“The long-term success of our students is the reason behind this effort,” Tobash explained. “Our public education system should be applicable to the students’ lives during and after their K-12 experience. We shouldn’t be cutting back on industrial arts and technical/vocational courses and neglecting to teach our kids how to sign their name in cursive, make change for a dollar or read a tape measure because every extra second of their day is spent being taught how to pass a test.”
In addition to the delay, Senate Bill 880 would require the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to investigate alternatives to the exam and issue a report of its findings and recommendations within six months.
Tobash added that PDE is charged with making sure the exams are not prohibiting students from seeking vocational and technical education opportunities in the trades. One of the major concerns of job creators is that they continue to experience a shortage of skilled workers. “We can support our local economy by connecting our education system with employers,” he explained.
Currently, the class of 2017 must take and pass the Keystone Exam in Algebra I, literature and biology in order to graduate.
“It is my responsibility as a parent, an advocate for public education and a financial steward of taxpayer dollars to make sure that these standardized tests are not a deterrent to applicable education, and I will continue to follow this issue closely,” Tobash said. “Educators and administrators within Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts know what is in the best interest of their students and education plans.”
For more information about this legislation, or any other state-related issue, contact Tobash’s district office in Schuylkill Haven located at 988 East Main St., by calling 570-385-8235. Information can also be found online at RepTobash.com
Representative Mike Tobash
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Krisinda Corbin