Failing charter districts
Of 129 charter owners in Maricopa
County for which data are available, 37 did not meet federal learning
goals, called Adequate Yearly Progress. They are listed below.
Academy of Arizona
Academy with Community Partners
Air Academy Charter HS
Ball Charter School (Hearn)
Bell Canyon Charter School
C.I. Wilson Academy
C.I. Wilson Academy II
Carden Elementary School
Career Success Schools
Deer Valley Charter Schools
E-Institute Charter Schools
East Valley Youth and Family
Estrella Public Charter High
School dba Estrella Public HS
Future Development Education &
Performing Arts Academy
Jefferson Patriots Inc., dba
Thomas Jefferson HS
Life School College Preparatory
Midtown Primary School
Nobel Learning Communities
OMEGA SCHOOLS dba Omega Academy
Peoria Accelerated Public Charter
Phoenix Advantage Charter School
Phoenix School of Academic
Pointe Educational Services
Precision Academy Systems
Premier Charter HS
Primavera Technical Learning
Salt River Pima-Maricopa
Scottsdale Horizons Charter
Sequoia Charter School
Skyline Technical HS
Sonoran Desert School
Sun Valley Public Charter Middle
Tertulia: A Learning Community
Valley Vocational Services
Westwind Middle School
In October, the state didn't label any of Mesa's schools
"underperforming," and honored 13 schools as "excelling," but on Friday
Arizona's largest school district failed to pass federal education standards.
State officials call the district standards tough, even unfair, but also
helpful in finding individual students who need the most help.
Mesa is hardly in bad company. It joins more than half of the Valley's
districts that failed to make what the feds called Adequate Yearly Progress,
including Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Chandler and Phoenix's Alhambra and
Statewide, about 40 percent of traditional districts and a third of charter
owners failed to bring all their students up to federal standards.
Barb Mozdzen, a mother of three who lives in Chandler, said there must be
something wrong with the federal standards, because there's nothing wrong with
her children's schools. Mozdzen has one Chandler graduate, a high-schooler and
an elementary student.
"I'm stunned," Mozdzen said. "I look at what my kids are learning and I say:
'Wow.' I have faith in this district."
Arizona schools chief Tom Horne urged parents to rely on the state, not the
federal government, for an accurate picture of their neighborhood schools.
"This illustrates that parents need to focus on the state labels to determine
how well their children's schools are doing," Horne said. "Regardless of which
system one focuses on, the important thing is that the schools will be
required to bring students to proficiency in reading, writing and
So why did some of Arizona's best districts get labeled inadequate by federal
• Federal standards require entire districts to improve AIMS reading and math
scores, a state test taken in third, fifth and eighth grades and in high
school. The feds also measure the districts on attendance and graduation
rates. But here's the sticking point: The feds require district students in
eight separate student groups to meet the standards. The groups include five
ethnic groups: African-American, White, Latino, Asian and Native American. The
other three groups are students learning English, students living in poverty
and special-education students.
• If any of these groups, in any grade, are lagging in test scores, attendance
or high school graduation rates, the entire district fails to make Adequate
So, in Mesa, eighth-grade English language learners didn't score high enough
on the eighth-grade AIMS math test to keep the district from failing. Paradise
Valley testing director Roger Freeman said they're also struggling to improve
eighth-grade AIMS scores.
"It does help us identify some of our weakest and strongest areas so we can
target them," Freeman said.