AFHE Response to Maricopa County Superintendent's Offer of AIMS Testing

January 25, 2007

 

On January 22, 2007 The Arizona Republic reported that a letter had been sent to all parents of students for whom their office has registered an Affidavit of Intent to Homeschool in Maricopa County. This letter invited parents to bring their children voluntarily to their Central Avenue office for AIMS testing in late February extending through April 2007.

AFHE discourages parents from accepting this offer for the following reasons:

1) A.R.S. 15-745(a) states: “Nothing in this article shall be construed to require the testing of children who are instructed in a home school program while they are receiving home school instruction.” You are not required by law to take the AIMS test. Many home educators do privately test their children to help them plan their curriculum goals. Our website has links to private testing resources. We encourage parents to use these tests for their evaluation purposes.

2) Maricopa County School Superintendent’s office has no accommodation so that parents may pay for the cost of this testing directly. Therefore, using this service is at a cost to the taxpayers. Entangling private home education with taxpayer money will inevitably lead to loss of freedom to home school. No assurance that the testing results will be the sole property of the parents is made with this offer. Whether another governmental agency may obtain access to the information is not clear. Any service has attendant costs and this test is no different such as costs of creation, printing, administration, proctoring and grading.

3) In the 1990’s, AFHE successfully shepherded legislation that resulted in A.R.S. 15-745. We won the right to be free from mandatory testing as home educators and placed the decision regarding testing in the control of parents. We believe that if parents voluntarily submit to this offer of “free” testing it will reopen the debate over mandatory testing once again. We ask that those secured rights be valued and protected by all who enjoy the freedom to homeschool in our state.

4) The assertion that colleges are requiring the AIMS test is inaccurate. AFHE works with all three state universities and they accept homeschooled students based upon an SAT or ACT score and a carefully prepared transcript that details the high school course of study. As far as out-of-state colleges, the AIMS test is an Arizona instrument only.

AFHE has always had an excellent relationship with our Maricopa County School Superintendent, Dr. Sandra Dowling and her dedicated staff. We understand their belief that they must offer this service. However, we must agree to disagree on the wisdom of homeschooling parents availing themselves of this offer, citing our concerns listed above.

AFHE Board of Directors