Pennsylvania high school students have begun taking the Keystone Exams, which are intended to be the state's new achievement tests for high school students. The Keystones are designed as end-of-course exams that will be given to students in the same year that they complete the courses and will become mandatory in 2017. Beginning this year, all students in 11th grade will be testing their knowledge in algebra I, biology and literature.
At this time, officials with the U.S. Education Department said Pennsylvania has not received official approval to replace the PSSA's with the Keystones, nor has the department approved standards submitted by the Pennsylvania Education Department for determining whether districts achieve yearly progress on the Keystones. So why are our students taking them now? The students in 11th grade will be long out of high school when the Keystones become mandatory, not to mention that the students taking these exams have completed some of these courses almost two to three years prior to being tested on them. With the exams being given so long after the completion of the courses, how much have the students really retained?
I believe it is ridiculous to subject students to exams that do not pertain to them. I am all for testing the progress of our school systems, but at this time it is unclear whether the Keystones will even be approved by the U.S. Education Department. I believe that school districts and the Pennsylvania Department of Education should examine why they are wasting precious teaching time making current 11th-graders take these ridiculous exams.
I feel saddened by the recent school shootings in Connecticut. My prayers are with the families who lost such innocent children.
I am a Bible-believing Christian. Some people have asked me where was God in all of this? Why didn't God stop this before this tragedy happened?
The answer is simple: God is not allowed in school anymore. Remember 50 years ago they took the Bible and prayer out of the public schools? God does not stay where he is not wanted. He does not force himself on people. People must decide for themselves whether or not to receive him into their hearts.
God is perfect and holy. You can't blame God for the malicious actions of a sinful man.
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Gregory Rinehimer Mountain Top Jeanne E. Shuella Kingston