Calif. Judge Throws Out Latest Case Against State's Graduation Exam

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

Four days after blocking the requirement that California seniors pass the state’s graduation test to get a diploma, a superior court judge in Alameda County on Tuesday dismissed another case challenging that test.

Judge Robert B. Freedman threw out the lawsuit filed in April by Californians for Justice, an advocacy organization, which argued that state education officials failed to study alternatives to the controversial exit exam within the time frame required by law.

A favorable ruling in the case, Californians for Justice v. O’Connell and the California State Board of Education, would have resulted in the accountability measures of the test being temporarily halted until the state studied more alternatives and allowed the legislature to review them.

It wasn’t until last December that state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell held a public hearing on possible alternative measures. Then in January, he concluded that there was no “practical alternative” to passing the California High School Exit Exam to receive a diploma.

Last Friday, Judge Freedman ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in Valenzuela v. O’Connell, a separate case that focuses on the constitutional issue of whether all students are receiving an equal opportunity to learn the material covered by the two-part exam. Lawyers for the California Department of Education are preparing an appeal to that decision.

‘The Larger Issue’

In response to Judge Freedman’s latest decision, Mr. O’Connell said in a statement that he was “pleased the judge denied the writ and dismissed the petition,” but that he remained concerned by the confusion created by the decision in the Valenzuela case, especially with just weeks remaining before graduation ceremonies begin throughout the state.

“Today’s ruling allows us to focus our legal efforts on appealing the larger issue of whether the California High School Exit Exam should be maintained as a cornerstone of California’s school accountability system,” Mr. O’Connell said.

Mike Chavez, a spokesman for Californians for Justice—which has offices throughout the state—said his organization was “disappointed with the ruling, but obviously encouraged” by the judge’s decision in the other case.

“We’re definitely planning to appeal,” he said. “We still really believe that the state didn’t follow the law.”

Web Only

Related Stories
Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories





Sponsor Insights

Effective Ways to Support Students with Dyslexia

Stop cobbling together your EdTech

Integrate Science and ELA with Informational Text

To Address Chronic Absenteeism, Dig into the Data

Can self-efficacy impact growth for ELLs?

Disruptive Tech Integration for Meaningful Learning

5 Game-Changers in Today’s Digital Learning Platforms

Keep Your Schools Safe and Responsive to Real Challenges

Hiding in Plain Sight - 7 Common Signs of Dyslexia in the Classroom

The research: Reading Benchmark Assessments

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

All Students Are Language Learners: The Imagine Learning Language Advantage™

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

How to Support All Students with Equitable Pathways

2019 K-12 Digital Content Report

3-D Learning & Assessment for K–5 Science

Climate Change, LGBTQ Issues, Politics & Race: Instructional Materials for Teaching Complex Topics

Closing the Science Achievement Gap

Evidence-based Coaching: Key Driver(s) of Scalable Improvement District-Wide

Advancing Literacy with Large Print

Research Sheds New Light on the Reading Brain

3 Unique Learner Profiles for Emerging Bilinguals

Effective Questioning Practices to Spur Thinking

Empower Reading Teachers with Proven Literacy PD

Student Engagement Lessons from 3 Successful Districts

Response to Intervention Centered on Student Learning

The Nonnegotiable Attributes of Effective Feedback

SEE MORE Insights >