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Assembly panel approves bill to exempt students missing key test

Elizabeth Weise | August 20, 2015



sacramento_state_capital_houseThe California Assembly Appropriations Committee yesterday approved a bill that eliminates a graduation requirement that has prevented as many as 5,000 high school seniors from graduating through no fault of their own.

SB 725 will eliminate the requirement that class of 2015 seniors pass the California High School Exit Exam, known as the CAHSEE.

The state abruptly cancelled the final administration of the exam in July, leaving the students, including 492 in LA Unified, unable to graduate despite having completed all the necessary coursework.

Many of the students had been accepted into college but cannot start fall classes without a diploma

The original version of State Bill 725 had been focused on visual and performing arts content standards. However given the crisis for the students, it was gutted and amended by Sen. Loni Hancock, an Oakland Democrat, who authored it.

The new language exempts the students from the requirement to pass the exam.

Speed was of the essence, said Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, Democrat from San Diego. “We need to help as quickly as possible these students who were innocent victims of a bureaucratic snafu,” she said.

The legislation is scheduled to be voted on by the full Assembly today and immediately sent to the Senate, Atkins said.

There has been no public opposition to the bill, which is expected to pass the Senate and reach Gov. Jerry Brown as early as Monday.

“The cancelled exit exam won’t be an obstacle blocking any student’s path in 2015,” said Atkins.

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