is a senior at Richmond High School in California.
She maintains a 3.84 GPA and hopes to pursue a career as a registered nurse after she graduates this June.
Up until today, Ms. Valenzuela was afraid she would not receive a diploma this year—because she has been unable to pass the California High School Exit Exam.
As of this year, diplomas are only awarded to students who can demonstrate a math proficiency at the 7th grade level and an English proficiency at the 10th grade level.
Yes, I said “awarded”
as in “earned”
not “given” as in “here’s a gift.”
Last February, Valenzuela and nine other students did what anybody else with an extraordinary sense of entitlement would do: they sued the State of California citing discrimination.
This is the argument/evidence as reported in the San Francisco Chronicle
“…low-income students and English learners who sued the state on February 8, claiming that many students have not had the opportunity to learn the material on the exit exam because they went to substandard schools with unqualified teachers, insufficient textbooks, and squalid conditions.”[Judge`s ruling blocks exit exam for this year by Nanette Asimov and Bob Egelko 5/12/06]
According to the Attorney General arguing against the lawsuit, the real reason these kids can’t pass the test is simple: they don’t speak English.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Robert Freedman agreed with the students in a ruling issued earlier today. If students have met all the other requirements for graduation, they will receive a diploma even if they fail to pass the exit examination.
Back to Ms. Valenzuela—the honor student and lead plaintiff in the case—let’s see how substandard her education has been.
Richmond High School maintains the following standards for graduation
Algebra I or higher)
|225 Total Credits
Bearing these numbers in mind, I have two questions:
1. How did Ms. Valenzuela pass all of these courses with roughly an “A” average if she cannot grasp 7th grade math or communicate proficiently in English?
Here’s the rub!
Clearly she was either taught these courses in Spanish
(her primary language) or the teachers simply granted high marks
to all students who were still breathing at the end of the day.
This brings us to my second question:
2. If the State of California was willing to
a) Incur the expense of administering all of her courses in Spanish and;
b) Provide her with instructors capable of teaching her to perform at such an exceptional level then;
How can it be said that Ms. Valenzuela attended “substandard schools with unqualified teachers, insufficient textbooks, and squalid conditions.”
Anybody with even a modicum of sense would say she had an exceptional education—perhaps a better education than the typical English-speaking student would receive when you consider the advantage of one-on-one instruction.
She isn’t the victim of unfair treatment—she’s the beneficiary of special treatment.
English-speaking children get an off-the-rack education in California—non-English speaking children (specifically Spanish-speaking) get a tailor-made education.
Now it seems Valenzuela and others like her have found a way to graduate from an American High School without having to meet the same standards as everybody else—without having to even speak English.
As for her aspirations in nursing…
A registered nurse needs, in most cases, a four-year degree.
Most four-year, accredited schools require either the SAT or the ACT exam for admission—neither are offered in Spanish.
Additionally, I would think math comes into play at some point in the education of a registered nurse—7th grade proficiency has stumped Valenzuela.
Finally, the State Nursing Board only administers the license exam in English.
So what is going to happen to Ms. Valenzuela?
One of two things:
1. She will find herself competing with students who have mastered the English language and can also do basic math (or better)—students who learned to work hard because they had to meet higher standards.
As a result, she will find that she is qualified for little more than a job in the service industry—in short, no better off than life would have been without her “American Dream”
2. She will sue everybody and their brother over the “discrimination”
surrounding the SAT or ACT, college admission standards and various State Licensing Boards.
As a result, Americans will find their healthcare in the hands of somebody in no way qualified for the job—in short, worse off than we were before we decided to pay for her “American Dream”
I can’t wait for Bush’s speech on Monday!