These Crenshaw High School students did not meet the criteria for the CAHSEE and will not be permitted to participate in graduation ceremonies.
Jason Lewis for Sentinel
Crenshaw Holding The Line on Exit Exam
CAHSEE has parents, students fuming
By Kenneth Miller
Sentinel Managing Editor
In January 2009, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) issued a district-wide bulletin reinforcing an existing policy that students who did not pass the mandatory California High School Exit Examination
(CAHSEE) would not be allowed to participate in graduation ceremonies.
According to Sylvia Russo, Executive Director of the Greater Crenshaw Education Partnership, which includes the Los Angeles Urban League, students at Crenshaw High School have had four opportunities this year to take the CAHSEE.
Crenshaw, which earned back its Accreditation in November 2008 through 2010 has implemented a seventh period class that is designed to aid students with the CAHSEE so that they can graduate.
“We have focused more on substance instead of symbolism and the only students who will be allowed to participate without passing the exam are special education students,” stated Russo.
Graduation for LAUSD schools is scheduled for June 17 but for a group of Crenshaw students and their parents, it will not be a celebratory moment.
These students have attended their proms and paid for sweat shirts that classified them as a member of the Crenshaw class of 2009, but they will not be participating in the graduation ceremony because they have failed on one or two portions of the mandatory CAHSEE.
Cashimier Smith, who has a 17-year old daughter that has been recruited to join the Navy is among those parents protesting on behalf of students who fell short of passing the exam.
“It’s just not fair. My daughter has a 3.5 grade point average and has completed all of her required credits for graduation and she will not be able to walk,” said a disgusted Smith.
Approximately half of the candidates for graduation at Crenshaw have not met CAHSEE requirements, according to parents.
Senior Destiny Worthy failed the test three time since the 11th grade, but says that all of the students did not know they had failed the test.
Worthy did admit, however, that she could have studied harder and limited her extra curriculum activities.
However, Kynyata Baker, another 17-year old Crenshaw senior also failed the test three times and only has a 2.0 grade point average still insist that the test is unfair.
As she wore her black sweat shirt as part of the ’09 class package, it began to sink in that many of her peers would be participating in the ceremony without her.
An aspiring nurse, she had pledged to return to school in the summer to achieve a qualifying CAHSEE score.
Another student, Shalece White, passed English, but failed the math portion and her 2.6 grade point average is not enough to obtain her diploma.
Others such as 19-year old Wilson Mitchell who says that he has a 3.6 GPA, failed English and passed the math.
Patricia Clark, president and CFO of Brotherhood Crusade Business Development Capital Funds, defends the students right to participate in the graduation ceremony.
“These children have stayed at Crenshaw for four years through their accreditation crisis and have worked hard and deserve the opportunity to walk with their peers,” Clark stated.
One of the concerns of the LAUSD is that in the past a high percentage of such students did not return in the summer to complete their GED, something that many of the students say will not happen to them.
The date of graduation is fast approaching, the many school memories already logged, but for those who did not pass CAHSEE, the district hard line stance will remain and earning their diploma will have to come a month later.