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Brushing Back "Compassionate Defeatism"


Lance T. Izumi, the director of education studies for the conservative Pacific Research Institute in San Francisco, wrote an editorial for the San Francisco Chronicle arguing that exit exams could help, not hurt, students in special education:

Some districts, instead of complaining, have risen to the challenge by implementing programs such as pre-exit-exam academic boot camps for special ed students. Higher expectations for special ed students and greater confidence in their abilities underlie such efforts. A positive agenda focused on getting special ed students to pass the exit exam will, in most cases, help these young people succeed in life much more than compassionate defeatism.

The federally funded National Center on Educational Outcomes has closely tracked the issue of exit exams for special education students, and wrote a report based on survey results that looked more closely at the issue nationwide.


As a former special education student who is finishing his PhD, I would like to say that I whole heartedly agree with this sentiment.

Do the homework on exit-exam fairness

In his Open Forum piece "Exit exam can help special-ed students succeed" (August 4th) Lance Izumi stated: "Many members of the San Francisco school district's special ed advisory council also oppose the testing requirement due to perceived unfairness. While understandable, this appealing knee-jerk reaction is seriously flawed."

Izumi never spoke with anyone on our committee (which is called The Community Advisory Committee For Special Education or CAC-SPED), perhaps he "guessing" what we think? The majority of our committee's members are parents of children with disabilities and there is nothing "knee-jerk" about our reactions to the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE).

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Recent Comments

  • sdc teach: I agree with the previous post regarding the high cost read more
  • Jason: That alert is from 2001. Is there anything more recent read more
  • Vikki Mahaffy: I worked as a special education teacher for 18 years read more
  • paulina rickards: As it relates to this research I am in total read more
  • Anonymous: Fully fund the RTI process. We are providing special education read more