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Thursday, May 25, 2006

DON'T PASS GO, UNLESS YOU CAN SHOW THAT YOU KNOW: In a temporary outbreak of sanity, California's highest court has reinstated the exit exam requirement for high school seniors, setting aside a lower court's ruling that it is "unfair" to expect graduating students to be, um, educated. Not surprisingly, among those most disappointed are: students who won't get to experience yet another opportunity of social promotion. "It's devastating news," says Raul Alcaraz. "...Robbing the students of the diplomas" is his characterization. Johanna Arroliga, 17, decries what she sees as "messing with people's emotions." What's more clear is that these students' high school years managed not to mess with their minds, in the way that a successful education is supposed to. "Some students feel left in the lurch," declares a San Francisco Chronicle headline. (Get used to it, kids. Lots of lurching in any life worth living.) I think the court's ruling is actually good for students who won't be carrying home a high school degree in the next few weeks. This qualifies them to get busy doing some of those much-discussed jobs that "Americans refuse to do." Close the borders, let failed students pick the lettuce and change the hotel sheets. Problem? I see two solutions.