Some 46,000 California seniors who failed the state’s high school exit exam may get their diplomas after all. An Alameda County Superior Court judge ruled Friday that the exam unfairly burdens students who attended low-income schools.
This is the first graduating class to have to pass the exam, which consists of eighth-grade math and ninth- and 10th-grade English. Jack O’Connell, the state superintendent of public instruction, called the ruling disappointing, and “a setback for students and for hard-fought school accountability in our state.”
So, our schools graduate high school students who can't read, write, or do 'rithmetic, and we respond by requiring them to pass a test to graduate. Not a high school test, mind you, just an 8-10th grade test. Then, just when we thought we had a fix for the problem, the court tells us we can't refuse high school diplomas to people who can't do 8-10th grade work. We might as well just do away with high school diplomas altogether, since they don't mean anything. Give them a certificate of attendance, if you want, but forget about the meaningless high school diploma. Students who want a real high school diploma can take the IB exam. At least we know that means something.