Parents lawyer Waive AIMS test for 3,000 English learners
Arizona Daily Star
July 26. 2005
By Howard Fischer
PHOENIX - More than 3,000 students who will be seniors this coming year should be exempt from having to pass the AIMS test to graduate, an attorney for some parents said Monday.
Tim Hogan wants U.S. District Court Judge Raner Collins of Tucson to block the state from enforcing the graduation requirement on students who are classified by the state as "English language learners." These are students who come to school speaking another language and are not proficient in English.
In legal papers filed in federal court, Hogan said Arizona is not in compliance with a court order to provide adequate funding to educate all of its English learners.
"Requiring ELLs to pass an achievement test to graduate when they have been denied the equal participation guaranteed to them under federal law is patently unfair," Hogan wrote.
In fact, Hogan wants Collins to bar the use of AIMS as a graduation requirement for ELL students not only for this coming school year but for several years to come.
Margaret Garcia-Dugan, the deputy state schools superintendent, said her agency will oppose the move.
AIMS, short for Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards, is actually three tests designed to measure proficiency in reading, writing and math. They are administered at several points during a student's education. Beginning with the Class of 2006, students must pass the last battery of tests to get a diploma.
About 3,000 English learners took the most recent test, administered last spring, and 80 percent failed to pass one or more sections.
Garcia-Dugan said it would be better to have these students kept back for another year of education than to give them diplomas.