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Pa. Legislator Blasts Corbett Administration Plan for Testing High School Seniors

(Pa. Sen. Andrew Dinniman, at lectern, and fellow lawmakers say the state Education Department is reneging on an agreement with them.  Credit: Tony Romeo)

(Pa. Sen. Andrew Dinniman, at lectern, and fellow lawmakers say the state Education Department is reneging on an agreement with them. Credit: Tony Romeo)

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — Democrats in the Pennsylvania state senate are crying foul over the way the Corbett administration plans to implement new tests for graduating high school students in the state.

State senator Andrew Dinniman (D-Chester County), ranking Democrat on the Senate Education Committee, claims that lawmakers had an understanding with the administration regarding tests in English, algebra, and biology:

“These tests were to be one third of the course grade.”

Now, Dinniman says, for the students to graduate the administration wants to require that the students must pass the tests or complete a project.

But Tim Eller, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Education, asks, what’s the fuss?

“If a test counts for a third of a grade and the student does not pass the exam, it’s almost, how can they pass the course?”

Meanwhile, Dinniman and other Democrats say having students do projects represents an unfunded mandate on schools since it will require teacher involvement and resources, perhaps to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Eller contends that any additional cost to schools will be negligible.

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