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Students must pass AIMS

By Howard Fischer

Phoenix, AZ – The William E. Morris Institute for Justice had
challenged the legality of the test, saying that
economically disadvantaged and minority students pass
it at a lower rate than everyone else. And that means
they don't get a diploma. Attorney Ellen Katz wants the
graduation requirement suspended until the state spends
more money to help those students. But Maricopa County
Superior Court Judge Kenneth Fields refused to issue an
injunction. Fields did not dispute Katz' statistics on
the failure rate of the groups she represents. But the
judge pointed out that her legal argument is that the
failure of lawmakers to adopt the recommendations of a
funding study shows that the state is failing to meet
its constitutional obligation to educate its children.
Fields said the problem with that is it puts him in the
position of deciding what level of funding -- and what
programs -- are more appropriate than the dollars and
programs now offered -- and enforcing that by
forbidding implementation of the Legislature's
requirement that students pass AIMS to graduate. That,
he said, would put him in the position of substituting
his judgment for that of lawmakers, something he does
not think he has the power to do. But while Fields
refused to issue an injunction, he left the door open
to Katz proving her case after a full-blown trial,
probably next year. In Phoenix, for Arizona Public
Radio this is Howard Fischer.