S.F. law firm joins lawsuit on exit exam

Following a Superior Court judge’s decision on Friday to allow a lawsuit against the state’s Education Department to proceed, a second San Francisco law firm filed legal action against the high school graduation exam.

Up to 48,000 seniors statewide had not yet passed the math-and-English test, a new requirement for graduation, as of March. One-hundred and fifty students were from San Francisco.

In February, downtown law firm Morrison & Forester filed a class-action lawsuit claiming that it would be unlawful to deny a diploma to students who have satisfied all other graduation requirements since many of the students who have not passed are attending substandard schools or need alternative assessments to show they’ve mastered the test material.

On Friday, Oakland Judge Robert B. Freedman heard arguments on a motion from the state to dismiss the argument that the state had not done a timely and thorough exploration of alternatives — a legal requirement — to the exit exam.

In his ruling, Freedman cast doubt on whether the “minimum quantum of effort required” was done by the state, and overruled the state’s demurrer.

Morrison & Forester attorney Arturo Gonzalez called the ruling “a very significant win.”

Following the ruling, Public Advocates Inc., another San Francisco law firm, filed a separate lawsuit to block application of California’s exit exam, basing its argument on the fact that the state began giving the test — without consequence to the students — back in March 2001, but didn’t hold a State Board hearing on alternatives until March 2006. Students in the class of 2006 will be the first to be denied a diploma if they do not pass the test.

“They’ve been sitting on their legal duties for years now,” Public Advocates attorney Tara Kini said. “They dillydallied.”

Representatives from the state Education Department did not respond to a request for comment on the ruling.

beslinger@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

Just Posted

If he secured a full term in the Senate, Newsom would become the most powerful Californian Democrat since Phil Burton at the height of his career, or maybe ever. <ins>(Kevin Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Firefighters extinguish burning material near Lake Tahoe on Sept. 3 in the wake of the Caldor Fire; environmental scientists say the huge fire is bringing to light deficiencies in forest management. <ins>(Max Whittaker/New York Times)</ins>
Cal Fire, timber industry must face an inconvenient truth

We are logging further into the wildfire and climate crisis

Artist Agnieszka Pilat, pictured with Spot the Robot Dog from Boston Robotics, has a gallery show opening at Modernism. (Courtesy Agnieszka Pilat)
Screenshots of VCs, Kanye and tech parties by the Bay

In this week’s roundup, Ben Horowitz’s surprising hip-hop knowledge and the chic tech crowd at Shack15

San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler, pictured in July at Oracle Park, says team members simultaneously can be “measured and calm” and “looking to push the accelerator.” (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
How Gabe Kapler sets the tone for Giants’ success with strategy, mindset

‘There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s the hands-down manager of the year’

Jordan Maria Don, left, and Troy Rockett are excellent in Crowded Fire Theater’s “The Displaced.” (Courtesy Adam Tolbert/Crowded Fire Theater)
‘Displaced’ an intriguing gentrification horror story

Crowded Fire show engages, entertains, enlightens

Most Read