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California's Class Of 2007 Can Graduate Without Passing Exit Exam

by Dave Reynolds (subscribe)

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA--On September 29, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law a measure that will allow current high school students with disabilities to graduate next spring without passing the otherwise mandatory California High School Exit Exam.

Senate Bill 267 extends last year's exemption that allowed more than 20,000 students receiving special education services, who completed all graduation requirements, to receive a diploma without having to pass the test.

The exemption came about as part of an August 2005 settlement of a class-action discrimination lawsuit. The non-profit legal firm Disability Rights Advocates had sued the California Department of Education in 2002, claiming that the exam unfairly discriminated against students with disabilities. Under the settlement, the Department agreed to exempt from the exam seniors with disabilities who had met certain conditions and were scheduled to graduate in the spring of 2006.

Education officials told the Press-Enterprise that all future high school seniors should assume they will have to pass the exam, unless if similar exemptions are put in place or the state comes up with an alternative test for students with disabilities.

Exam exemption extended for pupils with disabilities (Press-Enterprise)

Copyright 2006 Inonit Publishing
Article reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express international disability rights news service. Please do not reprint, republish or forward without permission.


So, no offense, but how do parents hold teachers accountable to teach their children valuable skills now.

Once these children graduate, it is my job to help them find meaningful work as employees.

This is not in the best interest of the students.

Thanks for your comment, KO. No offense taken.

Actually, you've hit at what I understand is the very heart of the dilemma with which folks in several states have had to grapple: How to ensure that all students receive a quality education, while also ensuring that those with disabilities -- who have completed all required course work -- are not denied a diploma because of a single test that the courts have found unfairly discriminates against them.

Now, while this is certainly not true for everyone, my own experience as a job developer for people with developmental and other disabilities for 18 years has been that the skills covered in the standardized state exams often have little to do with the individual's success on the job.

I'm a parent, too. I agree that we need to hold educators accountable for their child's education. In my opinion, the place to do that for students with disabilities is not a discriminatory exit exam, but the IEP.

Won't it be interesting to see how California handles this next year?

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