State education officials and lawyers representing students who failed the California High School Exit Exam settled a lawsuit Thursday that began last year in an attempt to eliminate the test as a graduation requirement.
Under the agreement, the test remains in place but schools must continue to educate students who fail for an additional two years after 12th grade -- if those students want to return and try the test again.
I'm glad the exam remains. I'm not sure of the wisdom of having 20-year-olds on a campus with 14-year-olds, but I guess that's part of the agreement.
This all started when some students who failed the exam were not going to be allowed to graduate (click on the testing/assessment tab and find some posts on this topic from Spring 2006) and filed a lawsuit. They lost; the state courts ruled that it's clearly within the purview of the legislature to dictate graduation requirements, and those students didn't graduate because they couldn't pass a test that has at most 8th grade math and 10th grade English.
In a remarkable effort at spin, the students' attorney calls this settlement a victory:
"For our clients, this is absolutely a victory," said Arturo Gonzalez, the San Francisco attorney who represented students in the classes of 2006 and 2007 who couldn't graduate from high school because they failed the exit exam.
"It just means that if (a school is) going to have a special course to prepare students for the test, you may have to invite five kids from last year who didn't pass. And that's a lot better than having those five kids out on the street."
OK, Arturo, whatever you need to tell yourself.