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Pa. Lawmakers Move Ahead With GOP-Backed Education Reforms

By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) -- The Senate Education Committee of the Pennsylvania Legislature today advanced a controversial bill that would create a state-run school district for Pennsylvania's poorest-performing schools.

The bill would place Pennsylvania schools with the lowest one-percent of academic performance in a statewide district dubbed the "Achievement School District."

Andy Dinniman, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Education Committee, says he can't support the bill as written now, but voted to send the bill out of committee anyway.

"I have no problem with this or any other bill that will contribute to a dialogue getting out of committee," he said.

But fellow suburban Philadelphia Democrat Daylin Leach disagrees.

"I think we should stop the process and fix the bill," he said.

In particular, Leach objects to the makeup of the proposed district's board, which he says would have a 4-3 majority of Republican appointees.

The Senate Education Committee, meanwhile, also advanced a bill that would delay until the 2018-19 school year making the controversial Keystone Exams a graduation requirement.

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