Judge Suspends California High School Exit Exam

A judge in California has suspended the state's high school exit exam, just weeks before 1,100 schools are to hold graduation ceremonies. The court ruled the test discriminates against English-language learners and the state's poorest students.

The ruling means that some 47,000 may be able to graduate. The number — 11 percent of the class of 2006 — throws into doubt what state school superintendent Jack O'Connell has called a cornerstone of school accountability.

The case stems from a lawsuit file against the state of California over what the plaintiffs call an unequal quality of education, specifically schools with unqualified teachers and fewer resources. This is the first year California high school students have been required to pass an exit exam.

The state is appealing the ruling, but the judge in the case, Superior Court Judge Robert Freedman, refused to stay his decision pending the outcome of an appeal.

Nearly half of U.S. states have an exit exam for high school students.

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