Thursday, May 21, 2009

PA NAACP Branches Oppose Proposed State Mandating of High School Graduation Exit Exams

As Pennsylvania's Governor Edward Rendell and the Department of Education forge ahead to ensure the viability of the Keystone Exams by awarding a $201 million dollar contract to Data Recognition, a Minnesota corporation with extensive lobbying forces in Harrisburg, to create the high stakes public high school graduation competency assessments, the NAACP along with state legislators and other organizations speak out AGAINST the push for more state mandated exams.

Senate Bill 281 is intended to prohibit the Education Department from establishing any new statewide requirements for graduation without legislature approval. Legislators argue that neither Pennsylvania's budget nor property taxpayers can afford the expense of the Keystone Exams; the NAACP charges that they place an unjust burden on African American students, their families, and society. The PA State Conference of NAACP Branches agrees with the National NAACP's Call to Action on Education statement that says...

"Before shifting accountability burdens onto the shoulders of children, state and local educational agency's must ensure that all students have an equal opportunity to learn the tested curriculum."

Check out the Pennsylvania State Conference of the NAACP Branches position paper for yourself at:

(Follow the blogs on this site for more details on the Keystone Exams.)

Lower Merion School District Charged with "Redistricting" Racial Discrimination

Lower Merion, PA--Families of nine African American students residing in the South Ardmore section of Lower Merion filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against the Lower Merion School District alleging that its high school Redistricting "3-R" Plan that was approved in January discriminates against black students by busing them to Harriton High School rather than to Lower Merion High School, which is a neighborhood school that is situated within a one-mile radius of the students' homes. Prior to the redistricting effort, the South Ardmore community had the "choice" of attending either high school. The families want school choice reinstated. They have not put forth before the Court a challenge or dispute over the community's perceived "racial division" at the elementary school level. The Lower Merion School District Board members, administrators and staff, through its solicitor Ken Roos, publicly denied all allegations at its May 18, 2009 school board meeting.