The front page of last week’s Sentinel showed nine students from Crenshaw High who are awaiting the results of the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) that they took in May of this year. The article did not state that there are approximately 160 seniors at Crenshaw who are also awaiting the results of this test. These seniors were misled by their teachers who told them that they would be participating in the graduation ceremony because they had more than enough credits to graduate. They were not told that the CAHSEE results would not be back until July and graduation is June 17th.
The district wide bulletin that was issued in February 2009 stating that “Students who did not pass the CAHSEE would not be eligible to participate in their graduation ceremony” was not given to the parents or students of the senior class. I have interviewed over 50 parents and seniors who stated that they had no knowledge of this decision made by the District School Board. Dr. Sylvia Rousseau, who is the interim Executive Director of GCEP, stated in last week’s Sentinel that “We have focused more on substance instead of symbolism in making this decision”. I would like to know what “substance” has she focused on. Why doesn’t she listen to the voices of these young men and women who are pursuing a higher level of education? Due diligence has not been used to get the CAHSEE results back before graduation.
The teacher who was supposed to be preparing these students for the CAHSEE had them do their homework during this 7th period class. Another teacher told these students that they were “stupid” because they couldn’t pass an 8th grade test. Little does this teacher know that this is not an 8th grade test, and that many teachers probably could not pass this test if it were given to them. These “teachers” need to get their “pink slips” because they are not focusing on the educational needs of our children. The Urban League and the administrators at Crenshaw High are more concerned about getting a budget, and implementing future programs rather than focusing on the students who have endured four years at Crenshaw High and are ready to go to college. We cannot put all the blame on these seniors for not having a nurturing testing environment.
There are only 2 things that these seniors are requesting. First, that the results of the CAHSEE are disclosed before graduation, and that those seniors who have all of the credits and have been accepted to other colleges walk with their classmates. Many parents may never experience this joyous and proud occasion. I ask that Dean Rousseau and the School Board do not deny these seniors their “Rite of Passage”. Two of the seniors featured in this Sentinel article, Kynyata Baker, who was accepted at Texas Southern University, and Ceritha Daily, who was accepted to the US Navy, missed only one (1) question on the CAHSEE that they took in May. All nine of these students in last week’s Sentinel are going to other colleges. They are not “stupid” as one teacher told them. They are determined to be productive adults and further their education. They know that they need their high school diplomas to continue their educational goals. Why can’t the School Board get it? They are supposed to be the “smart ones”, yet they are crushing the self-esteem of these hard-working seniors.
I congratulate and commend all the seniors at Crenshaw High who did not choose to drop out of school because of all the chaos. You are our future and you will not be left behind. Stand tall and proud and let your voices be heard.