It all began with the elimination of the California High School Exit Examination where former Senator Carol Liu suspended the high school exit examination until the end of this current school year in 2015 in SB 172. How will we know how students are doing and did our students learn during their time as high school students was the big concern of many Californians. The 2018-2019 school year is approaching, and it seems there is no replacement for the CAHSEE for our students that are based on the new Common Core standards that California utilizes.
It is perceived that suspending the exit examination was simply just a way to mask low graduation rates in our schools. We should figure out why our students are not learning, we are spending a big chunk of our state budgets on K-12 education and we should make sure that our students are doing their reading, writing and mathematics up to a reasonable level. One of my policy suggestions is to pilot reading programs in the high schools so we can improve reading skills of our students as an elective or required class depending on one’s skill level. If students can comprehend the material that they are learning they should be successful.
Recently this year the California State University is joining the low expectations parade. The leader of the CSU Timothy White wants to eliminate placement exams and remedial classes to help students get to standards in the university. Placement exams have been used in the Community College system to help students take the right classes for their needs, so they do not take classes that are not too advanced or too basic which helps save students and taxpayers money. Timothy White may feel that waiving the requirements may accelerate graduation of our students where they may not linger in the system longer, but maybe we should give students better class registration if they comply with placement exams and make sure they go through advising each quarter or semester. The action against placement exams seems very irrational.
If so many students need remedial classes in CSU/UC after graduation in high school, then we need to focus more on the K-12 system, so we can get those students ready first. I can understand the idea of an extra hour in class for extra instructional support for college writing and intermediate algebra, but we should work on reducing the number of students needing remedial coursework. Perhaps not all of us are meant to go to CSU/UC. I hear the mantra about getting students to go to college, but you can make more money in trade skills than to have a BA in Ethnic Studies.
Maybe we need to adapt some of the ideas of successful charter schools in our state in the public school system to help our students excel to their fullest potential.