Criticism flares around new Pa. graduation tests

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A move to toughen academic achievement standards and tie them to graduation tests for public school students is facing a groundswell of criticism.

After hours of hearings this week on the tests, top Republican lawmakers are trying to figure out what to do about the criticism. Gov. Tom Corbett proposed the concept last year and it needs approval from a government regulations board.

Under the proposal, students in the 2016-17 school year must pass a set of three course-specific exams in algebra, biology and English literature to graduate.

Some Democratic lawmakers and school administrators question the wisdom of requiring a graduation test in poorer school districts that struggle to afford small class sizes and instructional materials.

Conservatives worry that the standards are stamping out local control of education.

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