Ariz sues feds over No Child Left Behind scoring
Associated Press
Jul. 6, 2006

Arizona is suing the U.S. Department of Education over the federal agency's refusal to give schools three years before they have to count English-language learning students' test scores in a key accountability measure used by the No Child Left Behind program, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne announced Thursday.

Federal officials in 2003 had agreed to the three-year allowance in determining whether schools had made adequate progress in academic achievement. But now they have reneged on that promise and insist on counting the students' scores after one year, Horne said.

The lawsuit, which Horne said would be filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Phoenix, asks a judge to order the federal government to allow the Arizona Department of Education to decide schools' appeals under the three-year allowance.Arizona needs the three-year allowance because of its large number of ELL students and the state's requirement that students be tested in English and not other native languages, Horne said.

Arizona projects that 203 schools will be deemed to not have made adequate yearly progress this coming school year under the three-year standard and that an additional 100 would be added under a one-year standard, Horne said.

"It's unfair to those schools," he said. "It reflects badly on a school when they don't make AYP and they deserve to make it."

Horne decided to pull the trigger on filing the lawsuit after negotiations with federal officials did not resolve the issue to the state's satisfaction, spokeswoman Amy Rezzonico said.