Thousands of high schools seniors in California may be putting in last-minute cap-and-gown orders. A Superior Court judge in Alameda County has struck down the state’s high school exit exam, meaning that some students who’ve yet to pass the test may get to graduate this spring, after all. Judge Robert Freedman ruled that the exit-exam requirement, which was being enforced for the first time this year, discriminates against minority and low-income students who are poorly served by California’s school system. “Students in economically challenged communities have not had an equal opportunity to learn the materials,” he said, adding that the “scarcity of resources” was most severe for English language learners. Some 47,000 California seniors (about 11 percent) have yet to pass the test, but it was unclear how many of those have met all other requirements necessary to graduate. California schools Superintendent Jack O’ Connell called ruling “bad news for [among others] employers want meaning restored to our high school diplomas,” and vowed to issue an appeal this week. But students newly eligible to graduate weren’t waiting to plan for the future. “I feel very happy,” Liliana Valenzuela, the 18-year-old lead plaintiff in the case, said in Spanish. “Now I’ll be able to have my diploma and fulfill my desire to become a nurse.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.