College & Workforce Readiness

California Court Rejects Request for Quick Action; Exit Exam Remains in Place for 2006

By Linda Jacobson — May 30, 2006 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The lawsuit over California’s exit exam won’t be settled before this year’s high school graduation ceremonies are held. That means students who have not passed both sections of the exam will not receive diplomas this June.

In the latest twist of a closely watched lawsuit, the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco has turned down a request for an expedited hearing from the lawyers representing the five students named in Valenzuela v. O’Connell.

“This is a most welcome decision,” state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell said Friday in a press release. Mr. O’Connell has stood firm on the exit-exam requirement. “School districts throughout California now have certainty, and should proceed with graduation exercises for the class of 2006 as planned before the exit exam was challenged in court.”

Arturo J. Gonzalez, the lawyer with the San Francisco-based firm Morrison & Forrester who brought the lawsuit against the state, had asked the appellate court for a hearing this week. But for now, written briefs from the plaintiffs won’t be due until June 13, and oral arguments won’t be heard until July 25. High school commencement exercises for 2006 will be over by then.

Diplomas Possible?

Mr. Gonzalez said in a statement last week that if the court finds in favor of the plaintiffs—and upholds a decision by a lower-court judge to lift the exam requirement—seniors who have not passed both the mathematics and language arts portions of the exam might still be awarded diplomas later in the summer.

On May 12, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Robert B. Freedman granted the plaintiffs an injunction allowing all seniors to receive diplomas this year, whether or not they’ve passed the exam. Mr. O’Connell, the state schools chief, asked Judge Freedman to issue a stay of his decision, but he denied the request.

Judge Freedman agreed with the plaintiffs’ argument that students who have not passed the test—especially English-language learners—have not had an equal opportunity to learn the material because they are more likely to attend overcrowded schools and have less-than-qualified teachers.

Mr. O’Connell appealed both the denial of the stay as well as the injunction to the California Supreme Court. Last week, the high court granted the stay but sent the case down to the appellate court for consideration of the merits of the plaintiffs’ arguments.

“We intend to vigorously defend Judge Freedman’s ruling,” Mr. Gonzalez said in his statement. “The record strongly supports his decision. Therefore, we think there is a strong chance that students in the class of 2006 will receive their diplomas, even if it is after commencement ceremonies. It is important that students not get discouraged. They have to stay in school and pass their classes.”

His office also encouraged parents to ask their local school officials to allow students who have not met the exam requirement to participate in the ceremonies. Many districts have already said that students will be able to join their classmates during the ceremonies, but that they will receive certificates of completion instead of diplomas.

Events

English-Language Learners Webinar Helping English-Learners Through Improved Parent Outreach: Strategies That Work
Communicating with families is key to helping students thrive – and that’s become even more apparent during a pandemic that’s upended student well-being and forced constant logistical changes in schools. Educators should pay particular attention
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.
Sponsor
Mathematics Webinar
Addressing Unfinished Learning in Math: Providing Tutoring at Scale
Most states as well as the federal government have landed on tutoring as a key strategy to address unfinished learning from the pandemic. Take math, for example. Studies have found that students lost more ground
Content provided by Yup Math Tutoring
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

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.
Sponsor
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/>