A settlement has been announced of the lawsuit brought by the Goldwater Institute on behalf of five charter schools against Superintendent Tom Horne, the State Board, and the State Board for Charter Schools. The parties have agreed on the wording of this press release and will not comment further.
1. The plaintiff schools are excellent schools and in particular provide a high-quality Social Studies curriculum.
2. This is a win-win for both sides: Defendants can continue universal application of state standards, and the plaintiff schools will be able to continue teaching their proven curricula.
3. The schools commend Superintendent Horne for his demonstrated history of supporting both charter schools and meaningful accountability; and specifically for his emphasis on the importance of Social Studies in a landscape dominated by other subjects.
The settlement terms of the agreement are:
1. Upon the request of any of the Plaintiff schools immediately following settlement, there will be one or two sets of alternate social studies standards for any of the grades 5, 6, 7, 8, and high school.
2. The Department shall be responsible for the preparation of alternate social studies standards in accordance with the current curricula of the Plaintiff schools. The Plaintiffs will furnish appropriate personnel to work with the Department to provide curricular information that the Department will convert into the alternate social studies standards.
3. The social studies standards that currently exist for 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade that are removed from their current articulated grade level will be added to the appropriate higher grade level alternate social studies standards.
4. The alternate social studies standards shall incorporate a substantially greater level of academic rigor.
5. The alternate social studies standards will be submitted to a task force and then to the State Board for final adoption.
6. The Superintendent will make his best effort to encourage the task force and the State Board not to make any changes unacceptable to the Plaintiffs. If the task force makes changes unacceptable to the Plaintiffs, the Plaintiffs have the option of resuming the lawsuit.
7. Any school that adopts alternate social studies standards will execute a yearly Declaration of Curricular and Instructional alignment attesting that the school aligns its social studies curriculum with the alternate social studies standards and that the school has the obligation to prepare students fully for the AIMS examinations. The lawsuit shall be suspended during the process of creating and adopting the alternate social studies standards and can be resumed by either party if the events set forth in the agreement are not occurring as the parties intended in this agreement. Specifically, if the alternate social studies standards are not acceptable to the Plaintiff schools, they have the option of resuming the lawsuit.
8. Any Charter may choose to cover any of the articulated academic standards in any subject area during or prior to the grade level required. This provision is separate from and in addition to the alternate social studies standards provided for elsewhere in this agreement.
9. For purposes including but not limited to grading and promotion, any school may hold students accountable to academic standards that exceed those required by the state.
10. If the State Board adopts alternate social studies standards that are acceptable to the Plaintiffs, the lawsuit will be dismissed with prejudice in accordance with the terms of the Consent Agreement.
11. The parties will agree on a common statement for the public and will not deviate from that statement. Violation of the provision gives the parties the right to resume the litigation.
Superintendent Tome Horne Goldwater Institute
Contact: Amy Rezzonico, Press Secretary Clint Bolick, Esq.
(602) 542-5072 (602) 462-5000 ext. 227