Trustees of the Antelope Valley Union High School District stood firm Thursday in their defiant stance to not administer the controversial CLAS test, virtually ensuring the district will be sued.
Following a closed session with the school district's attorney that lasted more than two hours Thursday night, board members said they decided against reversing their April 20 decision not to give the test.
After the board's conservative majority voted last month against administering the test, the state Department of Education ordered the district to give the exam and said it would seek a court order if necessary. The district was given until today to tell the Department of Education whether it will reverse its decision and administer the test.
Praised by its supporters as a revolutionary method of testing critical thinking skills of students, the California Learning Assessment System test has come under fire amid charges of asking students personal questions and failing to measure basic skills.
At least four of the 1,007 school districts in the state, including two in Los Angeles County, have decided against administering the 1994 CLAS test despite warnings from the Department of Education that the law requires the test be given.
In addition to the Antelope Valley district, the Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District opted last week not to administer the test.
More than a dozen state senators last week threatened to seek elimination of funding for CLAS in the 1994-95 budget unless three demands are met: objectionable questions are removed from the test, local school boards are left to decide whether to give the test and a panel of education experts is allowed to review the test.
Before the Antelope Valley board went into closed session state assemblyman William J. (Pete) Knight (R--Palmdale) presented the board with a letter signed by 28 members of the Republican Assembly Caucus praising the decision to not administer CLAS. Knight also said he has introduced legislation that will allow the state legislature to review the CLAS test.
"We are being expected to fund this test, we are responsible for it, but we cannot see and cannot review the test," Knight said. "I think that is appalling."