Judge Robert Freedman of the Alameda County Superior Court has just slapped some 380,000 California high school students in the face. This is the 89% or so of students who studied hard, did the work, made the extra effort, and passed the California high school exit exam. Thanks, Judge Freedman. You've just told the entire world that a high school diploma in California is nothing more than a gold star for attendance. Park your butt in the classroom long enough and you can graduate. You may not be able to read, or speak English, but by God, you're a high school graduate.
Judge Freedman says the 47,000 students who haven't passed the exam have not had an equal opportunity to learn because their schools are terrible. This is probably true; the California school system is a disgrace. But - how many kids in those terrible schools did pass the exam? I can't find the numbers school by school, but for the kids in the low-end schools who passed the exam, this is a terrible insult. They've just been told that their hard work was worthless.
The young woman who filed one of the lawsuits was quoted as saying, in Spanish because her English is so bad, that she was happy because now that she'll get her diploma, she can go on and become a nurse, as she wants. I hope to God I'm never a patient on a ward where the nurse doesn't speak English. I wonder how she thinks she's going to complete nursing school in Spanish?
If the schools are so terrible that only 89% of students can pass the exit exam (which isn't that bad if you think about it), the solution is not to eliminate the exam for everybody, to accomodate the 11%. The solution is to improve the damn schools, and hold the 11% to the mark of completing the exam. I'm sorry, I think at least some of this is just a desire to walk up and get the diploma with friends; and I have very little sympathy for it.