Corbett asks for 'modifications' to Pa.'s proposed regulations on school standards

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HARRISBURG -- Gov. Tom Corbett is recommending changes to a set of education regulations that have been criticized by both Democrats and conservatives.

A spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Education said that, after speaking with legislators, Mr. Corbett decided on Monday to direct the agency to recommend "minor modifications" to regulations governing both a new set of academic standards and end-of-course exams that will become a graduation requirement.

"Governor Corbett remains committed to ensuring that all Pennsylvania public school students -- regardless of ZIP code -- have access to a quality education," spokesman Tim Eller said in an email. "Academic standards and state assessments are an important component of the state's effort to ensure that our students are prepared to pursue postsecondary degrees or careers after graduation."

The pending regulations would finalize new academic standards drawn from previous Pennsylvania standards and from the Common Core, a set of expectations developed by the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers and adopted by 44 other states and the District of Columbia.

Before Pennsylvania developed the adapted Pennsylvania Common Core, it approved the original nationwide standards. Education regulations adopted in 2010 call for the Common Core to take effect in July. Mr. Eller said the governor had asked for the modification process to be completed "in an expedited manner" so the regulations could take effect for the beginning of the 2013-14 school year.

House and Senate Republican leaders were told at a Monday meeting with Mr. Corbett that the administration will postpone submitting the regulations, said Erik Arneson, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware County.

"We view it as a good decision to postpone submitting the proposed regulations," Mr. Arneson said in an email. "I think the Senate Education Committee's public hearing last week showed that there are a lot of concerns in the General Assembly."

Senate Democrats have argued that higher standards must be accompanied by increased funding, while a leader of a conservative group whose members attended a Senate hearing objected both to the principle of nationwide educational standards and to the role of the federal government in encouraging states, through a competitive grant program, to adopt them.

education - state

Karen Langley: klangley@post-gazette.com or 1-717-787-2141.


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