Gov. Jerry Brown signs measure suspending high school exit exam

California's statewide high school exit exam, normally a requirement for students to receive their diplomas, will be suspended for three years under a new law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday.

The delay will give education officials time to prepare a new exam aligned with the Common Core standards.

The measure, SB 172 by Sen. Carol Liu (D-La Canada Flintridge), will also allow about 32,000 students who did not pass the exam dating back to 2004 to receive diplomas as long as they completed all other graduation requirements.

State education officials canceled the exit exam for high school seniors this year, prompting legislators to pass emergency legislation enabling about 5,000 students to get their diplomas without the required test.

Telesis Radford, a 27-year-old Santa Rosa resident, was overjoyed by the news. She completed all of her high school coursework at Santa Rosa High in 2006 and passed the English portion of the exit exam. But she failed the math section three times -- once just two points shy of the 350 required for passage –- so could not receive her diploma and pursue a career as a registered nurse, she said.

Now she can. Radford, an administrative assistant for the American Red Cross, said she intends to enroll in Empire College, a vocational school, with an eye toward phlebotomy and nursing in a hospital labor and delivery ward.

“I’m so excited I get to start my future,” she said. “I feel pure joy.”

In August, several students in similar predicaments took their stories to the San Francisco Board of Education.

Follow @melmason and @teresawatanabe for more on California government and politics.

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