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California High Court Reinstates School Exit Exam

The California Supreme Court has reinstated the state's high school exit exam as a graduation requirement. The divided ruling means that 47,000 seniors who haven't passed the test may not be able to graduate. The decision comes even as high schools across the state begin to hold graduation ceremonies.

California's class of 2006 represents the state's first graduates required to pass an exit exam, which tests tenth-grade-level English, along with eighth-grade math and algebra. Opponents claim the test discriminates against poor and minority students.

The state high court's ruling reverses the May 12 decision of Alameda Superior Court Judge Robert Freedman, who invalidated the graduation requirement for 2006. In his decision, Freedman cited a disadvantage for non-native English speakers and students living in poorer areas.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Elaine Korry is an NPR contributor based in San Francisco. From August 2004-June 2007 she worked as an NPR senior reporter covering social policy for NPR, with a focus on education, and on the lives of the nation's most vulnerable citizens — the homeless, those living in poverty, working in low wage positions, and trying to find their way to a more stable life.