Should students be required to prove a level of proficiency in mathematics, reading, writing, science, and social studies before being granted a "meaningful" high school diploma?
The agency argument goes something like this...the costs for testing and remediation would be in the millions and a tremendous burden to school districts particularly in a national recession, not to mention the pressure on teachers to actually ensure that beginning with the graduation class of 2015 students are educated when the Keystone Exam 1.0 kicks into effect that year subsequent to the failed or successful No Child Left Behind goal of educating most of America's students to a level of proficiency in mathematics, reading, writing, and science. Of course, students who fall below proficiency in any of those core content courses would risk failing to graduate from high school and all the consequences that come with it unless they have been identified by a learning disability (like being below proficient in reading or math) and receive academic support through "special education" services.
In early March 2009, several government agencies and organizations morphed the so called Graduation Competency Assessments into the Keystone Exams, which were variations on the theme of state-mandated assessments high schoolers would be required to pass in order to graduate with a regular high school diploma (others could graduate below proficiency with a special education diploma).
Whew...that took the steam out of that effort to require high school graduation competency exams in Pennsylvania. Powerful lobbyists!
Stay tuned. They're not done yet!