In the West Contra Costa Unified School District (near San Francisco), some 500 seniors have repeatedly failed the California High School Exit Exam and may not graduate. But if school board Trustee David Brown gets his way, those kids will receive high school diplomas anyway. Brown has floated a proposal-a board vote is scheduled for April 10-that would grant diplomas to all West Contra Costa students who have satisfied all graduation course requirements and passed the California exit exam or "an alternative assessment designed by local officials and graded subjectively." Were Brown to get his way, West Contra Costa would, of course, be in complete violation of the law. The state's education department has rightly responded by notifying the district's superintendent that should the board pass such a proposal, a court date won't be far off. Forget for a moment the specious arguments about exit exams "demoralizing" students, and concentrate instead on the example that Brown and his allies are setting for Golden State youngsters. If at first you don't succeed... break the law. We say: take the school board and send them straight to jail.

"School board to vote on defying exit exam law," by Simone Sebastian, San Francisco Chronicle, April 5, 2006

"48, 000 students still out in the cold," by Laurel Rosenhall, Sacramento Bee, March 29, 1996

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