In a surprise move last week, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Robert B. Freedman sided with a group of Richmond high school seniors who sued the state on the basis that the exam is prejudiced against low-income students in sub-par school districts. What Freedman's ruling, which is almost sure to be appealed, will mean for East County seniors remains to be seen. But until a decision is reached, Liberty Union School District students could be left holding their caps and gowns right up to the 11th hour.
"Actually, the 11th hour is now," said Liberty High School Principal Tim Halloran. "Even though we don't have that many kids that this affects, I still feel bad for them. They've worked hard and this is really tough."
And inconvenient. The longer this indecision remains, says Mary Vinciguera, Director of Curriculum and Instruction for the Liberty Union School District, the more difficult graduation ceremonies and end-of-the-year events become.
"For right now," said Vinciguera, "we just wait. But it's disappointing and frustrating for the students. We have tried to instill in them the importance of this test and they have worked very hard, and now ... The later it gets, the harder things are regarding graduation details, like how many chairs to put out, how many diplomas to order. The whole thing is difficult."
To date, the state has filed for an immediate stay of Freedman's decision, but until a decision is handed down, thousands of California high school seniors are forced to wait, and at this point it's anyone's guess when their future will be decided.