A ruling by a California judge could allow tens of thousands
of high school students to graduate this spring even though they
failed their state's exit exam.
Youth Radio correspondent
and Bay Area high school senior Jazmine Livingston passed the
test and she thinks everyone that graduates should have to pass
If you'd like to respond to Jazmine's editorial, e-mail
to this segment in RealAudio.
Thanks to a recent controversial ruling by Superior Court Judge
Robert Freedman, students who fail the California Exit Exam will
not be prevented from graduating this year. But you know what?
I say they should be.
a senior about to graduate next month, and I took the test during
sophomore year. Personally, I thought the test was easy. I didn't
even study and still scored within the top ten percent. Students
learn 90% of the test material in middle school. And if they didn't,
they still have all of ninth grade to catch up.
Once a student hits 10th grade, teachers provide two study booklets
one for math, and one for English so there's ample
time to study before the test. Plus, a student can retake it if
need be. Even after all that preparation, if you fail it sophomore
year, you can take it again junior year. And if you don't pass
it then, you can take it once again your senior year.
If, after all that, a student still can't pass the test, then
maybe they shouldn't graduate. The skills needed to pass are essential
to a successful life, even if you don't plan on going to college.
Not knowing them doesn't make things any easier once you enter
"the real world." That may sound harsh, but it's how
I feel. After all, you may not realize it, but you use basic math
in just about every job you can think of. And even something as
normal as a rental lease or a job application requires the English
proficiency that the test also measures. I mean, you have to know
what you're getting into, right?
Of course, I do see the other side of it. There are some people
that haven't gone to as good a high school as I have, and have
to deal with incompetent teachers. However, even in such a situation,
it's on you to take personal responsibility for your own life.
You know you have this test, so study for it.
And I know a lot of people think the exam discriminates against
students whose first language isn't English. But since English
is the primary language in schools here in the U.S., it's on the
student to learn it, however he or she can. Again, it's all about
personal responsibility. To do well here, you need to know English.
Not everything is always going to be translated.
Judge Freedman's decision to block California's exit exam gives
students yet another cop out. A high school diploma shouldn't
just be given out, it should be earned.
by Jazmine Livingston for Youth Radio
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