California high school students are failing the graduation exam; I don't have any problem with lower expectations for special-education students, but unless someone is arguing that being black or latino is the same as being mentally handicapped I think there must be some better solution than making the test easier. It already sounds pretty easy:

Nearly 100,000 California 12th graders — or about 20% of this year's senior class — have failed the state's graduation exam, potentially jeopardizing their chances of earning diplomas, according to the most definitive report on the mandatory test, released Friday. ...

The exit exam — which has come under criticism by some educators, legislators and civil rights advocates — is geared to an eighth-grade level in math and to ninth- and 10th-grade levels in English.

Shouldn't a test that examines 12th-graders be based on, oh, I don't know, 12th-grade material?

Among its findings: 63% of African Americans and 68% of Latinos in the class of 2006 have passed both parts of the exam.

By comparison, 89% of Asians and 90% of whites have passed. The report recommended that the state keep the exam but consider several alternatives for students who can't pass.

"Clearly, we need to have some options for these students," said Lauress L. Wise, the firm's president, in a telephone interview with reporters.

Here's an option for those who don't want to learn: flip burgers for the rest of your lives. Yeah, it's a sucky job. That's why some of your peers, the ones you mocked, actually went to class and did homework. I went to public school in Los Angeles, in the LAUSD, and yes, it's dysfunctional. But! It's also incredibly easy. The material is easy. The standards are lax. There's no reason that anyone with an IQ over 90 shouldn't be able to pass with flying colors. But you do have to show up.

Teachers, according to the report, said that many students arrive unprepared and unmotivated for their high school courses and that their grades often reflect poor attendance and low parental involvement.

It's hard for parents to be involved when the majority of families are divorced, and most parents probably can't do high school material either. It must be society's fault! I mean, it's not like we provide twelve years of free education, books, computer labs and teachers or anything! Holy crap.

So what do the students say?

Los Angeles High School senior D'Janay O'Neal had another complaint. She said she freezes up on the math portion of the test because "math has never been my strong suit."

D'Janay, 17, said she passed the English section on the first try but has failed the math part three times. She is taking an extra remedial math class this semester to help her pass the test, in addition to her Algebra II class and two Advanced Placement courses. She said she has a 2.0 grade point average.

"I am totally freaking out that I may not graduate," said D'Janay, who attended a rally against the exit exam this week in a park next to her high school.

"No matter what happens, I'm going to college because I need college to further my education," she said.

First off, she's over the limit of one apostrophy per person, but that's probably her mom's fault. Second, no one with a 2.0 GPA should be taking AP classes or worrying about college. Math doesn't have to be your "strong suit" to pass at the 8th grade level. Algebra II? 8th-graders I know are taking Algebra or Pre-Algebra; Algebra II is generally taken in the 10th or 11th grade.

People are so lazy, it's unbelievable. Here's an alternate graduation criteria for you: eliminate all test requirements for any family that doesn't own a television.

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