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Commentary: Goodbye, good riddance to CA’s exit exam

LA School Report | October 16, 2015



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Los Angeles Times logoBy Michael Mahoney

The California high school exit exam is dead. The short and purposeless life of the exam began in 2001 when it was first administered to ninth-grade volunteers. It ended last week when Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that not only suspended the test but also nullified the results for anybody who had finished high school but failed to pass it.

Once hailed as a meaningful way to raise academic standards, the exam left the world without a trace, erased like the errant smudge of a No. 2 pencil.

The exam is preceded to the grave by a century’s worth of forgotten and abandoned education initiatives that headline-seeking politicians once promised were going to make our schools great again. (Remember class size reduction? Remember how every kid in Los Angeles was supposed to get an iPad?) It is survived by zombie ideas that refuse to die despite overwhelming evidence that they should. (Can we forget about using standardized tests to evaluate teachers?)

I admit I don’t mourn the test’s passing, but I can’t help but feel angry about the way it ended.

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