Of all the proposals made in the conference committee’s budget, the governor seems to have focused on the committee’s decision to temporarily suspend the high school exit exam.
A day after legislators shocked state education officials by voting to eliminate the high school exit exam graduation requirement, the governor has promised to kill any proposal that would do away with the high-stakes test. (SF Chronicle 6/17/09)
The 5 reporters left in Sacramento seem to think this is quite the story, as I think every one of them wrote a story about it. And Jack O’Connell, state superintendent of public instruction, seems quite upset about the lack of hearings on the subject, but the shock seems a bit sanctimonious and more than a bit feigned. Look, we’re cutting about $10 Billion in education funding and the test always had a litany of problems. The test exhibited a questionable racial bias and really was rather unassociated with skills needed in the real world.
Apparently it’s ok to cut days of instruction, as Arnold has proposed, but you don’t dare mess with a test. The cut wouldn’t actually eliminate the test, though, as it is still necessary for the No Child Left Behind Act. It simply eliminates it as a requirement for graduation.
In the end, I doubt that the requirement will actually be eliminated. Not only does it draw a lot of attention from Californians it also offers an interesting negotiation point. But the Republican spokesperson said there were “other priorities” that ranked above the test. Like, you know, drowning the government in a bathtub.
Either way, this may well end up as an interesting point of contention to watch as the budget fight continues. At any rate, it will apparently get the media attention other line items don’t get.