Legal battle still is not finished

Despite a state appeals court decision earlier this month that upheld California’s high school exit exam, the lawyers who filed lawsuits against the high-stakes test said on Tuesday that they haven’t given up their legal fight.

“The bottom line is we are not going away and neither is the lawsuit,” said attorney Arturo Gonzalez, of the San Francisco-based law firm Morrison & Foerster.

Gonzalez filed the lawsuit on behalf of senior students who had not passed the exit exam, arguing that the test discriminated against students who are minorities, low-income and/or English-language learners, since they frequently attend schools with less resources.

Gonzalez said he did not file a petition asking the California Supreme Court to review the appellate court decision, but instead agreed to a sit-down meeting with state Department of Education officials Aug. 18 to see if an agreement could be hammered out to offer additional remediation to those seniors denied a diploma in June. He is currently waiting on the state’s response to his request, he said. If an agreement is not made, he’ll “go back to the judge and seek a new injunction,” he said.

<p>A second lawsuit that argues not enough time was spent by the state researching alternatives to the existing test is scheduled to go before the same appeals court Sept. 12. Filed by another San Francisco-based law firm, Public Advocates, the lawsuit also seeks to delay the consequences of the exit exam — meaning those not passing in the class of 2006 would retroactively get exams if the judge rules that the state did not fully pursue its legal obligation to review other means of assessing students’ knowledge and skills.

“Nearly every state has alternatives,” Public Advocates attorney John Affeldt said. “They

shouldn’t rely so heavily on a single test score.”

In a teleconference Tuesday morning, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack

O'Connell noted that there is also a bill working its way through the state Legislature that proposes extending a one-year exemption for special education students that was granted to the class of 2006.

O'Connell said that although the state has not taken an official position on the new legislation, he believed an ongoing exemption — which would give diplomas to special education students who have passed their classes but not the exit exam — “wouldn't prepare them for fulfilling, productive, independentlives.”

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

BART Ambassadors are being called on to assist riders in social situations that don’t require police force. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Unarmed BART ambassadors program formalized with a focus on community service

Public safety and police reform are key elements in campaigns of Board members Dufty and Simon

On Oct. 13, people lined up to vote early for the presidential election in Southlake, Texas. <ins>(Shutterstock)</ins>
<ins></ins>
Five things to watch for in the run-up to Nov. 3

Down-ballot races, as much as the presidency, will determine the future course of this nation

WeChat (Shutterstock)
U.S. District Court denies Trump request to shutdown WeChat app

A federal judge in San Francisco denied a request by the U.S.… Continue reading

School board members Gabriela Lopez (left) and Alison Collins (right) say they have been the subject of frequent hateful, racist and sexist attacks during their time on the school board. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F Examiner)
Angered by Lowell decision, SFUSD grad targets school board members with violent imagery

Facebook page depicts two women of color on board with swastikas and x-marks on their faces

Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, a former school board member, said it was ‘ridiculous’ that the school district did not yet have a plan to reopen. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Supervisors demand SFUSD set a timeline for reopening

Pressure grows on district to resume in-person learning as The City’s COVID-19 case count goes down

Most Read