Horne calls for returning policy-making to states
The Arizona Republic
 Apr. 25, 2007

Arizona schools chief Tom Horne delivered his blunt criticism of the current No Child Left Behind law at a meeting of the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.

Horne said he favors the basic tenets of the law: rigorous standards assessment and accountability. But he is a staunch critic of how the law is written and its "irrational" implementation by the U.S. Department of Education. Horne called for the return of education policy-making decisions to the states.

In particular, Horne noted that the federal policy-makers are not giving English-language learners enough time to learn English before taking assessment exams."There has been a tidal wave of illegal immigration into Arizona, and we have over 100,000 students that are English-language learners," he said.

Under the Arizona system of accountability, which predated No Child Left Behind, schools had three years to bring English-language learners up to speed while federal negotiators only gave them one year, Horne said.

Congress is considering possible changes to the law as part of reauthorization of the federal law.

View Horne's full speech at ade.state.az.us.