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California Grads Exempt From 2006 Exit Exam
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
August 26, 2005

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA--Between 16,000 and 25,000 high school seniors with disabilities could graduate next spring without having to pass California's exit exam under the partial settlement of a class-action lawsuit announced Friday.

The agreement only affects students in the class of 2006. A measure currently making its way in the state Legislature would further exempt students receiving special education services from taking the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) through 2008, in order to give education officials more time to figure out how to assess the skills of those students.

The non-profit legal firm Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) filed the suit, Chapman v. California Department of Education, in 2001 claiming the six-hour math and English test unfairly discriminates against students with disabilities.

"It's not fair to deny a diploma when the student was never taught the material," DRA attorney Stephen Tollafield said in a press release.

The Legislature and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger must still approve the settlement.

"This case will continue until all California students with disabilities are guaranteed a fair chance to demonstrate their proficiency on the CAHSEE," explained DRA attorney Mazen Basrawi. "We hope that the legislature and Governor Schwarzenegger will act quickly to implement the settlement and to extend these protections into the future."

Disability Rights Advocates also sued the states of Oregon and Alaska over their use of standardized tests as a graduation requirement. Those cases have since been settled.

Related:
"Exit exam challenge for special-ed" (L. A. Daily News)

http://www.dailynews.com/Stories/0,1413,200~20949~3026530,00.html
"Disabled students to be allowed to graduate without passing exit exam" (San Francisco Chronicle)
http://www.inclusiondaily.com/news/05/red/0826a.htm
"Settlement Will Excuse High School Seniors With Disabilities from California High School Exit Exam" (Disability Rights Advocates)
http://www.dralegal.org/cases/education_testing/chapman_v_ca.php

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