State And Feds At Odds Over New Rules For Scoring Arizona Schools
The U.S. Department of Education changed its rules for measuring the progress of public schools during the 2005-2006 school year. The impact was devastating to the Arizona schools, which had more than 600 schools marked as failed. That is nearly three times as many schools as last year.
For the first time, the Arizona schools were forced to include AIMS test scores for reading and math of students, who are in their second or third year of learning English. Another change lessened the amount of help a school may give special education students in completing the AIMS test. Additionally, the Arizona schools now are required to expand the number of students tested each year. In the past, they tested students in the third, fifth, eighth and tenth grades. Now, the Arizona schools must test all students in grades three through eight, as well as high school sophomores.
Superintendent Tom Horne is outspoken on the federal mandates, calling them illogical and absurd. He cites that these changes are responsible for nearly 400 additional Arizona schools failing to meet minimum federal progress measures,...