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[Susan notes: Here's a strong, direct statement about the damage done by high stakes exit exams. ]

Submitted to Sacramento Bee but not published

To the editor

The high school exit exam is a public policy disaster of epic proportions,

costing taxpayers over $500 million annually, denying 35k-60k seniors their

diplomas every June since 2006. Over 300,000 seniors who earned 230-270

graduation credits, passed 13 year-long courses required to graduate,

persevered 13 years, 14,000 hours in k-12 classrooms, some accepted to two

or more colleges---are forced to sacrifice college and scholarships, are no

longer eligible for Cal Grants or other financial aid, cannot deliver

packages for UPS, collect boarding passes for any airline, sell shoes at

Sears, or qualify as an apprentice for over 70% of California trades because

they have no high school diploma. It is totally abusive, inhumane, and

militaristic to claim these students are not qualified to graduate because

of a flawed test based on mind-numbing memorization and a cold-turkey,

surprise topic essay that prohibits technology, references, editing. Return

to teaching vs. antiquated testing.

The author is a State & Federal Public Policy Consultant Environmental Health, Disabilities, Education.

Jo Ann Rupert Behm, M. S., R. N.

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