Judge allows AIMS challenge to proceed

Associated Press
Aug. 8, 2006



A judge has refused to dismiss a legal challenge to the requirement that Arizona high school students pass the AIMS test to graduate, setting the stage for a two-day hearing later this month on the adequacy of funding for Arizona public schools.

The state had argued that Judge Kenneth Fields of Maricopa County Superior Court should dismiss the case on grounds that having the dispute decided by courts would usurp the roles of the executive and legislative branches of state government

AIMS, short for Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards, is a math, reading and writing exam. The graduation requirement took effect this year.

In refusing to dismiss the challenge, Fields ruled that the challenge's claim that the state failed to adequately fund students' education is a constitutional question suitable for resolution by courts.

He noted that the Arizona Supreme Court issued several rulings in the 1990s on the adequacy of Arizona's school finance system.

"Questions concerning the interpretation of the Arizona Constitution as regards the education right in the Constitution belong to the judicial branch. It appears that (is) what is involved in this lawsuit," Fields wrote in his July 24 order.