SACRAMENTO (CN) – Thousands of high school students who couldn’t take state exit exams because of a contract dispute will still receive diplomas after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill nixing the exam requirement on Wednesday.
Brown and California lawmakers fast-tracked Senate Bill 725 this month and suspended the exit exam requirements for nearly 5,000 seniors who were prevented from taking the test last month. Education officials said its contract with the exit exam providers ended earlier this summer and students were denied diplomas because of a test they couldn’t take.
Lawmakers said the bill will go into effect immediately in order to aid the recently graduated students who are starting classes at colleges around the state. Brown directed California universities to allow the incoming freshmen to remain enrolled as long as they passed all other graduation requirements outside of the exit exam.
The bill passed the state Assembly 77-1 and the Senate 37-0, with just one Republican in opposition.
The cancelation of July’s exit exam has impacted students attempting to enroll at private colleges, join the military and in some cases apply for jobs.
Opponents of the exit exam say it is no longer relevant and does not complement curriculum taught in public schools. Legislation to permanently suspend the exit exam as a graduation requirement was introduced in February by Sen. Carol Liu, D- Los Angeles and it cleared the Senate 25-14 in June and awaits an Assembly committee hearing.
Liu’s bill would instead task the state superintendent with setting up an advisory panel for recommendations to either keep the exit exam or come up with “alternative pathways to satisfy specified high school graduation requirements.”
Brown signed the bill without comment Wednesday.
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