Wednesday, July 29, 2009

California: HS Diplomas w/o Exam for Special-Ed Students

Currently, satisfactory grades on the California High School Exit Exam are required to receive a high school diploma, however, that will soon change. Pending legislation will eliminate the exam requirement for special education students. Reportedly, 16,000 special education students fail the exam every year and are denied diplomas.

Consequently, employers interviewing job applicants are in a pickle when seeing prospective new hires with high school diplomas from California. Either they know something, having passed the exit exam, or they received a diploma because they're special.

I suggest that the awarding of diplomas to students who don't pass the exit exam devalues all high school diplomas earned in California. That is unless the special education diplomas are clearly emblazoned with language indicating that they are given to students who failed to acquire a requisite amount of knowledge to pass the exit exam. That, however, isn't reported to be part of the plan.

In any event, it would seem to be easy to simply classify all students failing the exit exam as "special" and give them diplomas anyway. Graduation rates would soar and school administrators would be given awards for excellence.

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