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At issue in Debra P. v. Turlington (1981) was the validity of student testing. In 1978, the Florida legislature conditioned the receipt of a high school diploma on passing a state competency examination. Black students had a disproportionate failing rate on this test. Students who failed or would fail filed suit, claiming that the use of this test violated the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, and the Equal Educational Opportunity Act (EEOA).

A federal trial court found that the content of this test was valid and its use for remediation purposes was legal. However, to avoid perpetuating past discrimination against Black students, the court enjoined using the test as a diploma sanction until the 1982–1983 school year, when ...

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