Education A State Capitals Roundup

California Grants Some Test Waivers

By Linda Jacobson — February 07, 2006 1 min read

Thousands of California students with disabilities who are scheduled to graduate this year won’t have to pass the state’s high school exit test, under a law signed last week by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican.

The law reflects a settlement reached this past fall in a class action brought by Disability Rights Advocates, a nonprofit law center based in Berkeley, Calif. The advocacy group filed the case, Chapman v. California Department of Education, in 2002 on behalf of special education students, arguing that the California High School Exit Exam is an invalid assessment and discriminates against students with disabilities.

“We commend the governor and the legislature for taking action to protect students with disabilities,” Melissa Kasnitz, the center’s managing lawyer said in a written statement.

Under the measure, students with an individual education plan who have met all other state requirements for a diploma, and received remediation for the test if the help was available, will be able to graduate whether or not they’ve passed the exam. The law applies to students on track to graduate this year, and was seen as an opportunity for the state to improve instruction for those with disabilities.