08/14/15 SF Board of Education Amends Graduation Requirements, Defies Current State Law to Expedite Awarding of Diplomas

SF Board of Education Amends Graduation Requirements, Defies Current State Law to Expedite Awarding of Diplomas

August 14, 2015 (San Francisco) - The San Francisco Board of Education voted unanimously today to amend SFUSD’s graduation requirements, a decision that immediately grants diplomas to 107 SFUSD students who received a Certificate of Completion in May 2015 instead of a diploma solely because they had not passed both sections of the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE).

SFUSD is the first school district in the state to defy the current state law that requires students pass the CAHSEE in order to graduate.

“This is a decision that’s right for students. Now young people who worked hard to meet all of the requirements and took all the steps necessary for admission to a four-year state college, including challenging coursework and a grade of C or better, will be able to start college in the fall,” said Superintendent Richard A. Carranza.

A pending vote by the legislature on California Senate Bill 172 could suspend CAHSEE administration and the requirement that students pass this examination as a condition of graduation from high school. While the bill has yet to be heard before the Senate, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson canceled the July 2015 administration of CAHSEE, leaving many seniors without an additional opportunity to obtain a high school diploma.

The decision to cancel the administration of the July CAHSEE disproportionately affected students of color, English Learners and socioeconomically disadvantaged students. Approximately 30 SFUSD students who planned to take the CAHSEE in July received provisional admission to four-year colleges but were recently contacted and told that their admission would be revoked because they had not earned a high school diploma.

A handful of students from schools across the city were awarded diplomas immediately following tonight’s Board vote. The superintendent and board commissioners commended students for sharing their stories and inspiring them to act.

“Thank you students for sharing your personal stories. We stand with you tonight,” said SF Board of Education Vice President Matt Haney.

“Students, when you raise your voice and demand justice, justice will be done,” said Superintendent Carranza.

Diplomas will be issued to all students in the class of 2015 who received a Certificate of Completion instead of a diploma solely because they had not passed both sections of the CAHSEE, but who otherwise completed all SFUSD credit and course requirements. Students who would like more information about whether or not they qualify to receive a diploma under the new SFUSD graduation requirements may contact SFUSD at counselors@sfusd.edu.

Once the California legislature and governor have taken action on Senate Bill 172, the SF Board of Education will review its amended graduation requirements.

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Page updated on 08/14/15

This page was last updated on June 29, 2021