June 16, 2009
Contact: Hilary McLean
Schools Chief Jack O'Connell Responds to Conference
Committee Vote to Eliminate the High School Exit Exam
SACRAMENTO — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell issued the following statement in reaction to the Legislative Budget Conference Committee's vote today to eliminate the California High School Exit Exam as a condition of graduation.
"The budget conference committee's decision today is a huge setback for California students. The implementation of the California High School Exit Exam is the greatest high school reform effort we have made in a generation. The argument that our expectations should be lowered because of budget cuts to public education heaps insult on injury to students and teachers who are being impacted by the budget crisis. I guarantee that businesses in our state and around the world are not lowering expectations for their employees. This exam helps focus attention and resources on students who are struggling. We will do a grave injustice to our students if we do not ensure that they have the minimal skills needed to survive in the increasingly competitive global economy.
"The committee's decision will lead to minimal savings because the majority of students pass the Exit Exam on the first administration, which under this proposal, will stay in place. I continue to call on the Legislature and the Governor to find a budget solution that protects students. The decision to eliminate the Exit Exam as a condition of graduation does the opposite. I strongly urge the members of the Budget Conference Committee to revisit this ill-conceived decision."