Thank you OUSD. Sludge tends to predictably flow downhill in bureaucracies. So I was heartened to hear that OUSD has changed its mind and will vote to award diplomas to a subset of seniors who were caught in a bureaucratic snafu.
This drama is pretty well explained in the recent Mercury News article, “Decision to cancel California high school exit exam creates chaos.” The short of it is that, a set of students had met all requirements to graduate except passing the CAHSEE, the high school exit exam, which the State abruptly cancelled this year, because it was no longer aligned to what was being taught or expected of high school graduates. So these students were left in purgatory, their college acceptances threatened to be revoked, and it was hard to see how they could, absent legislative action from the State, ever graduate. And let’s not hold our breath on the State acting, or delay these seniors’ futures.
This move is not without risks. The State could fine OUSD. But come on, we are already paying down over 50 million in debt to the State, from a time when none of our current students were even in school, and none of our current board or top staff had any relation to. So I guess if I am thinking about the list of stupid things that OUSD pays for, fines for diplomas seems pretty good.
So thank you Superintendent for proposing the policy change, and I hope that the board will follow suit. This is a chance for us to start the year working together for equity. I can see the next few weeks for these 221 students, in two parallel paths. In one, there are tears and hugs, and a set of students moving on in their lives to bigger and better things. In the other, it’s really just tears.