Use Florida as guide to put AIMS on target
AIMS has suffered what ought to be its final indignity.
The Legislature passed “AIMS Augmentation” to let 6,000 high school seniors graduate despite an inability to pass a test of basic skills.
If you can’t pass a 10th-grade test, the thinking went, you don’t deserve to graduate.
A diploma should mean something, and students need an incentive to work hard. After delaying the graduation requirement several times, the Legislature has effectively killed it via easy bonus points.
Using AIMS as an exit exam was never the best idea.
Florida uses its testing to identify students who aren’t reading by third grade, the children who typically drop out before getting near graduation.
If improved learning is the goal, focusing on earlier grades makes more sense.
Florida has required tens of thousands of students to repeat third grade. Florida’s low-income students now outscore the average of all Arizona students in fourth-grade reading.
Florida sets kids up to succeed rather than to fail – and has improved statewide test scores to show for it.
Arizona policymakers should rethink our system of testing.
Parents, teachers, administrators and policymakers all require a credible, transparent system. The AIMS/TerraNova exam is not delivering.
MATTHEW LADNER, Ph.D.
vice president, research
McCain can rekindle green-friendly rating
Once upon a time, Sen. John McCain got a 30 percent approval rating from the League of Conservation Voters.
This year, it’s down to zero.
That’s because he has cast about one vote during the election cycle, and it had nothing to do with global warming.
This is a nonpartisan issue. Honorable Sen. McCain, you’re supposed to be voting in the best interests of your constituents. Please vote “yes” on the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act (S. 3036).
HELEN G. GREER
ACLU defends itself, right to share beliefs
As a member of the American Civil Liberties Union, I looked forward to Stephanie Zawada’s Tuesday teen column (“Don’t take free speech for granted”), especially since the ACLU was founded in 1920 specifically to defend her First Amendment rights of speech, assembly, press and religion.
Imagine my surprise when I read that organizations “such as the ACLU” are trying to take these freedoms away!
She failed to do her homework for this column. I suspect she was confusing the rights of individuals to express what are sometimes unpopular beliefs with the beliefs themselves.
We don’t have to agree with a person’s belief to defend his right to state or write it. Now there’s a topic she might want to write a future column on.
Thank a Cop shows they’re appreciated
“Ready to Protect, Proud to Serve” says the throw on my couch.
On May 6, I urged the City Council to fund more officers – adding, “The last thing we need is to attend another police officer’s funeral; we have attended more than enough.”
Now we mourn the loss of one of Tucson’s finest, Officer Erik Hite. Condolences and prayers for his family, police family and the community.
I received this from a police officer:
“Community support for the officers is important and I know you understand the sacrifices all of the officers made. I am in awe of the bravery of the TPD and PCSD officers showed during this incident. How lucky we are that we have officers who run toward the bullets and not away without a second thought. Please pray for the family.”
We should all be in awe of the bravery and dedication these officers displayed. Sunday, they pulled people to safety, set up roadblocks to capture the shooter, and protected lives.
Officer Hite made the ultimate sacrifice for us.
Community members can:
• Donate to the Officer Erik Hite Benefit Fund, Wells Fargo account No. 2475164071.
• Support the Tucson Police Foundation (www.tucsonpolice foundation.org).
• Write to or call the mayor and council members: We need more officers.
• Put a “Thank a Cop” bumper sticker on your vehicle; show officers this community supports and appreciates their dedication. I will deliver them.
To Officer Hite’s family, I am sorry for your loss.
To wounded sheriff’s Deputies Eric Cervantez and Tory Schwartz, may you completely recover, mentally and physically.
Thank a cop.
YOLANDA D. HERRERA
granddaughter, sister and widow of police officers
Running military news together out of line
On the front page May 24, the first item in RealFast Local news was “100 from Davis-Monthan leave for duty in Asia.”
It should have been only about our troops heading out.
But the second paragraph was about a Tucson sergeant who was killed in Iraq. This news should have had its own headline and paragraph.
Also, the full articles on both topics were on different pages, so I don’t see the reasoning for combining them. Both articles are very important. But it was extremely tacky to combine them.