Horne sues Education Department
The Arizona Republic
Jul. 7, 2006
Meghan E. Moravcik
State schools chief Tom Horne made good on a threat Thursday to sue the federal
government over how the standardized test scores of students learning English
are counted in Arizona.
Until now, Horne said, state and federal education officials agreed to count the
scores of English-language learners starting after the students' third year in
the state, allowing them time to become proficient enough in English to pass an
But federal education officials want to count those scores after only one year.
"No Child Left Behind requires all states to include all students, including
students with limited-English proficiency, in their accountability system," Chad
Colby, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Education, said in a written
statement. "Arizona is not doing this, and the department has repeatedly told
state officials they are violating the law."
Horne said Arizona is following an oral agreement made three years ago.
"They made an agreement, and like anybody else, they should keep their
agreements," Horne said.
Horne said his lawsuit challenging the federal government's position would be
filed in U.S. District Court by the end of the day Thursday.
If the federal court does not rule in the state's favor, it could mean an
additional 100 Arizona schools will be labeled as failures. That, in turn, could
be costly for some districts if they end up enacting expensive corrective plans.