New Pennsylvania Graduation Requirements Create Controversy

The Pennsylvania State Board of Education has adopted proposed amendments to the Chapter 4 regulations dealing with high school graduation requirements. Those proposed revisions include the creation of what are known as Graduation Competency Assessments, or GCA’s.

According to information from the PA Department of Education, the proposed GCA regulations are designed to ensure that a high school diploma has meaning and significance, regardless of where in the state it is issued.

Not everyone is impressed, however. For example, the Pennsylvania School Boards Association has offered Graduation Competency Assessment information and resources for the many school districts who oppose this new plan. PSBA even has drafted a sample resolution for those districts that wish to confirm publicly their opposition to the GCA regulations.

Also, as recently as yesterday, members of the State College School Board wrote an editorial in the Centre Daily Times newspaper, criticizing the proposal. PSBA also reports that the following groups all have expressed concern about these proposed regulations:

  • PSBA
  • Pa. Association of School Administrators
  • Pa. Association of Career and Technical Administrators
  • Pa. Association of Elementary and Secondary School Principals
  • Pa. State Education Association
  • American Federation of Teachers
  • Pa. PTA
  • Pa. Association for Gifted Education
  • Education Law Center
  • Special education advocates representing autistic students
  • Various individual school districts

The regulations are not final yet, and there still are a number of procedural steps to follow until they do become final, including a public comment period that is expected to begin once the proposed regulations are published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin (expected to be later this month).

In the meantime, I will continue to follow this development, as the proposed regulations make their way through the regulatory process. Please feel free to contact me or PSBA if you have any questions.


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