SUPERINTENDENT HORNE APPEALS FLORES DECISION; MOVES FOR
STAY OF ENFORCEMENT
State School Superintendent Tom Horne has appealed both
aspects of the Flores
decision: the order exempting English language learners
from passing the AIMS test to graduate, and the order imposing
sanctions on the state until legislation is passed increasing funding
for English language
learners. Simultaneously, Motions to Stay the enforcement of both
filed with the trial court, a necessary precondition to seeking a stay
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The motions included many of the
ultimately to be included in the appellate briefs. Horne stated the
The Flores Decision
Both motions raise constitutional
arguments that the Court does not have jurisdiction to dictate education policy
to the state of Arizona. While it is good policy to ensure that everything is
being done to teach English to English language learners as quickly as
possible, this is properly a legislative function; details of education policy
should not be dictated to the state by a federal court. Among the bases raised
are the 10th, 11th and 14th Amendments to the United States Constitution. The
10th Amendment reserves to the states those powers, which should include the
details of education policy, not delegated to the federal government by the
Constitution. The 11th Amendment prohibits suits against states in federal
courts. The 14th Amendment, which was the purported bases for the statute
relied upon by the court, requires equal treatment, and cannot be used to
require that one group of students receive favorable treatment over another.
Indeed, applying lower standards to English language learners than to other
students is the opposite of preferential treatment.
from The Arizona Republic
U.S. District Judge Raner Collins ordered lawmakers and
Gov. Janet Napolitano to come up with a financial plan by late January to help
educate students struggling to learn English or be fined $500,000 a day. The
penalty could rise to $2 million a day if they fail to act.
Collins also ruled that English-language learners do not
have to pass the state's exit exam, AIMS, to graduate from high school until
their education is funded and working adequately. That would likely exempt them
through at least spring 2007 and possibly beyond. . . .
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne said
he will work with lawmakers to meet Collins' demands but also plans to ask a
federal appeals court to block the sanctions . . .
In his ruling, Collins said he "can only imagine how
many students have started school" since the court deemed state funding
for English learners to be arbitrary and inadequate in February 2000.
"How many students may have stopped school, by
dropping out or failing, because of foot-dragging by the state and its failure
to comply with the original order?" Collins wrote. . . .
The ruling is the latest in a class-action lawsuit,
, that was filed on behalf of a Nogales family in 1992. Last
spring, lawmakers missed what was supposed to have been the judge's final
deadline . . .
Read more about the Flores
case by clicking here
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RESEARCHERS FIND FLAWS, INCONSISTENCIES IN ARIZONA'S EDUCATION POLICIES, OFFER RECOMMENDATIONS
second consecutive year, researchers from Arizona's public universities studied
several facets of the state's education policies. This year's report, a
collection of ten policy briefs, is the first study to present the comprehensive
impact of federal and state accountability policies in Arizona.
The report highlights contradictions between Arizona's
accountability policies and local and federal legislation; the difficulties
with implementing these policies; and the impact on teachers, students, and
parents. Each policy brief offers recommendations for understanding and
alleviating these problems. Nearly all of the briefs echoed the 2004 report's
key finding: Adequate data needed to make important policy decisions were
severely lacking. This year's findings are:
- English Language Learners
The structured English immersion method of educating
English language learners (ELLs) is indefensible in terms of the research and
data reviewed for this report. Given the lack of a research base, the authors
recommend that the Arizona State Legislature commission a scientifically
rigorous evaluation study of Proposition 203, a voter-initiated action that
mandated children in Arizona public schools be taught English by being taught
Test data show that African-American, Hispanic, and
Native-American students continue to trail far behind their White and Asian
counterparts. Dropout data reveal that a significantly higher percentage of
African-American, Hispanic, and Native-American students drop out of school
than do White or Asian students. The dropout data collected reveal neither the
motive nor rationale for the students' actions, making it impossible for the
lack of minority participation to be explained or resolved.
The education policies promoted by the Arizona State
Legislature appear to be focused on (1) restricting funds for core
instructional purposes to the greatest possible degree and (2) financially
promoting a competitive system that offers alternatives (i.e., charter schools,
vouchers, tax credits) to traditional public schools. The current method of
education funding in Arizona is likely to perpetuate existing achievement gaps.
Instead of the Standford 9, AZ LEARNS will now administer
the TerraNova standardized exams to grades 2 through 9 to compare Arizona test
scores with those of other states. The TerraNova has questionable validity for
its intended purpose and contributes little to the assessment of student
learning in Arizona.
There is a weak relationship between AZ LEARNS
accountability labels (e.g., "Performing,"
"Underperforming," "Failing") and school test scores on
AIMS (Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards). This inconsistency calls into
question how well the system accurately aids parents in school-choice
NCLB's achievement goals are focused on implementing
blanket academic goals for special education students, which conflicts with the
demands of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). IDEA calls
for differentiated instruction based on an individual student's needs.
Administrative costs have declined since 2001 and are
below national and state averages. The trend of hiring leased employees—retired
administrators who return for a fraction of their salary while still collecting
their pension—has implications for the cost of lost innovation and for the cost
to the state's retirement system.
- Arizona Education by the Numbers
Due to missing or contradictory data, there are a number
of key facts Arizonans do not know: (1) Arizona's dropout rate, (2) the exact
number of charter holders, (3) the number of charter schools, (4) the average
size of charter schools, (5) the number of Arizona's public school students
attending charter schools, (6) the ethnic composition of Arizona's charter
school population, (7) the number of ELLs in Arizona's charter schools, (8) the
number of charter school teachers, (9) the ethnic and gender composition, and
years of experience of charter school teachers, and (10) the number of charter
While the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) has begun
to close the technology gap by wiring schools for the Internet and providing
computers, the technological professional development offered by the state for
teachers is inadequate.
With the implementation of structured English immersion
and the changes to Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC), teachers and
caregivers are required to obtain additional certification and receive more
professional development. ECEC could experience a shortage of qualified
personnel should current caregivers be unable to dedicate the time or money to
- Early Childhood Education and Care
Policy makers are focused on strengthening and expanding
ECEC services to include fully-funded, full-day kindergarten and to improve the
quality and capacity of ECEC. The data needed to guide ECEC policy decisions,
however, are nonexistent.
Find the complete report, click here
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ARIZONA TEACHER IS THE WINNER OF THE NATIONAL CAREER TECHNICAL EDUCATION 2006 TEACHER OF THE YEAR AWARD
After extensive interviews at the national level, a
national review of all the nomination credentials, and letters of reference,
Kevin English, an agriculture teacher from Peoria High School in the Peoria
Unified School District, was announced as the National ACTE Career Technical
Education Teacher of the Year. This award was presented in front of over 3,800
attendees at the National ACTE Conference at the Kansas City Convention Center.
Kevin will be highlighted as the ACTE National Teacher of
the Year during 2006 and will be invited to do presentations on behalf of Career
Technical Education Teachers nationwide.
The road to the national title took over two years and
was extremely competitive. The process was as follows:
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Kevin English was the recipient of the ACTEAZ
(Association Career Technical Education of Arizona) "Teacher of the Year
Award" in July 2004. This award was presented at the Arizona Career
Technical Education Summer Conference after reviewing all the nominations
submitted from applicants across the state of Arizona.
winner from Arizona, Kevin competed for the ACTE Region V Award in Mandan,
North Dakota in April 2005. ACTE Region V is comprised of fifteen states and four
American Territories. Kevin won the "Region V Teacher of the Year"
Award and that made him eligible to compete for the ACTE National Title.
In national assessments of public school students,
charter schools showed more improvement in both reading and math between the
2003 and 2005 tests. In reading, charter schools improved four points, while
conventional public schools remained stagnant. This caused an increase in the
percentage of charter students achieving proficiency, while those students in
conventional schools showed no change since 2003. Charter schools typically
attract a higher proportion of at-risk children. At the 8th-grade level, a full
60 percent of students in charter schools are minorities, showing that charter
students come from backgrounds that have traditionally been under-served. While
the present difference in scores is statistically insignificant, it will become
all the more significant because charter schools are showing more improvement
over time, while conventional public schools continue to show little or no such
While the final numbers are still being tabulated in
Arizona, the findings of one major study suggest a continued pattern of
success. Fourth-grade students attending charter schools are 9.6 percent more
likely to be proficient in reading and 10.3 percent more likely to be proficient
in mathematics than their conventional school counterparts (based on state AIMS
The large academic achievement gap between males and
females is growing significantly decreased, according to a new study
by the U.S. Department of Education.
In elementary school, female fourth-graders outperformed
their male peers in reading (2003) and writing (2002) assessments.
differences in mathematics achievement have been small and fluctuated
between 1990 and 2003. At the secondary school level, the gap in the
Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading achievement grew from
points in 1992 to 16 points in 2002, with males performing lower than
Females entering college baccalaureate programs were more likely than
male counterparts to graduate within six years. In 2001, the overall
participation rate of females in adult education was higher than that
male peers (53 percent vs. 46 percent).
"It is clear that girls are taking education very
seriously and that they have made tremendous strides," said U.S.
of Education Rod Paige. "The issue now is that boys seem to be falling
behind. We need to spend some time researching the problem so that we
boys the support to succeed academically."
Queue, Inc. offers previews of its Arizona test
preparation workbooks to public schools.
Queue publishes test prep books in Mathematics, Reading
and Composition for Grades 3-high school, as well as Practice Tests in
Queue also offers Math and Reading workbooks for grades 1 and 2, and
publishes a wide variety of other workbooks in
Literature, Science, History, Government, Health, and ESL.
Samples of student
workbooks are available for preview.