09 May 2006

Of course it's not your fault: this is America

According to a California judge, as reported by Nanette Asimov, ("Judge Says California Exit Exam is Unfair," San Francisco Chronicle, Tuesday, 9 May 2006 [cited 9 May 2006]), being poor, among things, is a sufficient enough excuse for failing a high school exit exam that the exam itself can be declared unconstitutional because it violates the “equal protection clause” of the Constitution by virtue of being “unfair.” Unfair.  I have come to hate that word.  Allow me to critique the ruling, as reported by Asimov.

A judge in Oakland struck down California's controversial high school exit exam Monday, issuing a tentative ruling suggesting the test is unfair to some students who are shortchanged by substandard schools.

If finalized, the unexpected ruling would block the state from carrying out its plan to deny diplomas for the first time to tens of thousands of seniors who have been unable to pass the exit exam.

Judge Robert Freedman of Alameda County Superior Court said he based his ruling on the concept of "equal protection" and is expected to make a final ruling at a 2 p.m. hearing today.

“Equal protection?”  Is he kidding us?  The phrase has been used so much that it is almost devoid of meaning.  At base it means a law that applies to me also applies to you.  If I have to meet certain requirements in order to vote so must you.  If I have not been to law school and passed a bar exam and neither have you, then if I am not permitted to practice law you are not either.  Let’s apply this equal protection garbage another way.  I know a guy who would like to have gone to law school, but could not afford it.  Other, and lesser minds, merely because they could afford it, have gone to law school and are for that reason alone allowed to practice law.  Notice how the laws respecting the practice of law are” unfair.”  I mean, come on, the only reason he failed the bar exam was that he was too poor to afford to go to  law school.  It’s unfair to penalize someone—to deprive him of the opportunity to engage in work that he might enjoy—just because he is poor.  (The full import of this seemingly ridiculous point will be clear below, when we see how the issue of poverty is raised..)

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g said...

hmmmm very interesting!

About Me

James Frank Solís
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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