Education A State Capitals Roundup

California Seniors Sue Over High School Exam

By Mary Ann Zehr — February 14, 2006 1 min read

Ten high school seniors and their parents filed a lawsuit Feb. 8 in San Francisco County Superior Court, arguing that California’s exit exam discriminates against them.

The 10 students have failed to pass either the mathematics or English portion of the exam, and are members of the state’s first graduating class required to pass the exam to get a diploma.

One of the plaintiffs, Liliana Valenzuela, a senior at Richmond High School in Richmond, Calif., has a grade point average of 3.84 but is an English-language learner and hasn’t passed the English portion of the exam. The lawsuit argues that depriving such students of a diploma violates the equal-protection clause of the California Constitution because the plaintiffs weren’t given a fair chance to pass the test.

Hilary McLean, the press secretary for state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell, said that he stands by the exam.