College & Workforce Readiness

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

By Linda Jacobson — May 17, 2006 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

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.”


Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Whole Child Approach to Supporting Positive Student Behavior 
To improve student behavior, it’s important to look at the root causes. Social-emotional learning may play a preventative role.

A whole child approach can proactively support positive student behaviors.

Join this webinar to learn how.
Content provided by Panorama
Student Achievement Webinar Examining the Evidence: What We’re Learning From the Field About Implementing High-Dosage Tutoring Programs
Tutoring programs have become a leading strategy to address COVID-19 learning loss. What evidence-based principles can district and school leaders draw on to design, implement, measure, and improve high-quality tutoring programs? And what are districts

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
College & Workforce Readiness Whitepaper
Root Causes of Students Stopping Out of College
Many postsecondary access and success programs successfully support students to enroll in a degree or credential program after high schoo...
Content provided by OneGoal
College & Workforce Readiness Opinion The High School Network Providing Students With On-the-Job Training
Rick Hess speaks with Cristo Rey Network President Elizabeth Goettl about the network's innovative work-study program.
7 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
College & Workforce Readiness From Our Research Center Class of COVID: 2021's Graduates Are Struggling More and Feeling the Stress
COVID-19 disrupted the class of 2020’s senior year. A year later, the transition to college has in some ways gotten worse.
7 min read
Conceptual illustration of young adults in limbo
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Klaus Vedfelt/DigitalVision/Getty
College & Workforce Readiness From Our Research Center Helping Students Plan How to Pay for College Is More Important Than Ever: Schools Can Help
Fewer and fewer high school graduates have applied for federal financial aid for college since the pandemic hit.
4 min read
Conceptual Illustration of young person sitting on top of a financial trend line.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Klaus Vedfelt/DigitalVision<br/>