Protestors Denounce California Exam

K-12 Testing

“Don’t punish students for the state’s failure” was the message from a standing-room-only crowd jamming a legislative briefing room in Sacramento for “State Accountability Day.” One hundred students, most from low-income communities of color organized by Californians for Justice (CFJ), and supporters from another 30 groups, including parents, education experts, and members of the San Franciso Board of Education, joined together to protest the state’s High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) and advocate for racial justice in education.


After a press conference which included the chairs of the Senate and Assembly Education Committees, students briefed legislative staffers with a multiple-choice State Accountability Exam. They displayed photos and explained the horrendous conditions in their schools, including insect infestation, overcrowding, and a lack of credentialed teachers, as well as unfair school suspensions and expulsions, all of which deprive students of an opportunity to learn. The groups of students with the highest failure rates on the CAHSEE are those who face the greatest educational deprivation. Following the briefing, teams of students and supporters visited with 25 legislators. Meanwhile, 75 people rallied outside the State Board of Education as CFJ and its allies presented testimony against the CAHSEE to the Board.
Legislation has been introduced to bar denial of diplomas based on CAHSEE scores. CFJ and its allies are building a statewide campaign to involve more students, parents, educators and advocates in the effort to guarantee every student an opportunity to learn.


• CFJ website at; thanks also to George Sheridan of CalCARE,