House Advances Bill to Allow Opt-Out for Keystone Exams
HARRISBURG – This week, the House voted overwhelmingly to approve legislation sponsored by Rep. John Lawrence (R-Chester/Lancaster) that would permit public schools to adopt a policy that would allow parents or guardians to opt-out of the Keystone Exams on behalf of their children.

House Bill 85 would require school boards to meet within 180 days of the bill’s effective date to determine whether to adopt a policy to excuse a student from state assessments if the student’s parent or guardian submits a written objection to school officials. If a school board fails to act within 180 days, the school district would, by default, be required to excuse a student from state assessments upon written request by a student’s parent.

“Many parents have spoken with me with concerns about the Keystone Exams,” said Lawrence. “This bill strengthens local control and parental control when it comes to a child’s education. I strongly believe that parents and local school boards should have the ability to speak to this issue.”

The Keystone Exams are a series of standardized tests administered to high school students across Pennsylvania. Current regulation allows parents to opt-out children from testing solely on the basis of a religious objection; House Bill 85 would expand the ability to opt-out to any philosophical reason.

Lawrence’s bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Representative John Lawrence
13th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Donna Pinkham

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