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Keystone Crossroads: Rust or Revival? explores the urgent challenges pressing upon Pennsylvania's cities. Four public media newsrooms are collaborating to report in depth on the root causes of our state's urban crisis -- and on possible solutions. Keystone Crossroads offers reports on radio, web, social media, television and newspapers, and through public events.Our partner stations are WHYY in Philadelphia, WPSU in State College and witf in Harrisburg. Read all of the partner stories here.Pittsburgh’s WQED joins the collaboration as an associate partner. Support for this project comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Schools In 40 PA Counties Would Struggle With Keystone Graduation Requirement

Map via Research for Action
This map shows counties that have at least one school district or charter where the number of retests scoring below proficient represents more than 75 percent of the high school enrollment in those districts and charters.

Pennsylvania students in the class of 2017 are the first who will be required to pass standardized Keystone exams in algebra, literature and biology in order to graduate high school. A new brief details how complicated it could get to help students graduate who can't pass those exams.

State law passed under Gov. Ed Rendell and implemented under Gov. Tom Corbett says that if students can't pass the tests after two tries, schools must help them to complete a project-based assessment.

As written, though, the law provides zero additional resources for schools to do this work.

"I don't think at that point it time it was clear what kinds of resources might be required in order for school districts and charters to meet the Keystone graduation requirements," said Kate Shaw, executive director of Research for Action.

The Philadelphia-based nonprofit published an analysis Wednesday showing that, based on last year's pass rates, a quarter million Pennsylvania students would need help with project based assessments.

Read more of this report at the website of our partner Keystone Crossroads.

What's at stake and candidate profiles for statewide races and competitive primaries in Allegheny County.