Posted by Curt on 9 January, 2006 at 1:40 pm. Be the first to comment!


You would think this would be common sense but in my loony state, there is no such thing as common sense:

State Superintendent Jack O’Connell delivered a tough-love message Friday to nearly 50,000 high school seniors still hoping to escape a new requirement that they pass the state’s exit exam to get a diploma in June:

The answer is “no,” he said. There will be no way for this year’s students who fail the test to graduate with their classmates.

His message was a response to demands from critics of the exit exam that he find some alternative to this high-stakes test.

“I have concluded that there is no practical alternative available that would ensure that all students awarded a high school diploma have mastered the subject areas tested by the exam and needed to compete in today’s global economy,” O’Connell said.

[…]No sooner had O’Connell disclosed his no-retreat policy on the exit exam than the San Francisco law firm of Morrison & Foerster announced plans to sue the state, saying the state will be unfairly denying many students a diploma.

“We are going to file a lawsuit by the end of the month,” said Arturo Gonzalez, a partner in the firm. “The gloves are off.”

Citing the same evaluation report that O’Connell did, Gonzalez said more than half of California schools employ uncredentialed math teachers, and a third of them employ uncredentialed English teachers.

“How can you tell kids that they can’t graduate from high school for not passing the test unless you provide them with a qualified teacher?” he asked.

[…]The fate of the exit exam — and the students who fail it — has been a matter of bitter debate in California since 1999, when O’Connell wrote the law as a Democratic state senator representing Santa Barbara.

Supporters say a high school diploma means little if it is earned for “seat time” rather than academic skill.

Opponents call it unfair to discount a student’s entire academic career on the basis of one test.

Parallel debates are going on across the country. Half the states have passed exit exam laws, and 19 have withheld diplomas from students who fail, according to the Center for Education Policy in Washington, D.C. The other seven states, including California, have administered the exams each year but have not yet withheld diplomas. California will do so for the first time this year.

Each state gives students several chances over two or three years to try to pass the test.

Only in California would people be upset that our taxfunded schools give a test to students prior to graduation.? Why would we want to make sure that our kids actually LEARNED what the school taught them prior to setting them loose, makes too much sense I suppose.

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