Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

April 11, 2006


Host: Michael Grant

AIMS Update


  • This is the first year that high school seniors must pass the AIMS test to graduate. Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne will give us an update. He will talk about his successful appeal to a lawsuit that exempted English learners from taking the AIMS test. Tim Hogan of the Arizona Center for Law in the Public interest, who filed the lawsuit, will be on to give the other side.
Guests:
  • Tom Horne - Arizona State Superintendent of Schools
  • Tim Hogan - Arizona Center for Law in Public Interest


View Transcript
Michael Grant:
Tonight on "Horizon," was yesterday's march simply a demonstration for comprehensive immigration reform or a much larger display of the potential power of a community?

Michael Grant:
Plus, looks like English learner students will have to pass the aims test to graduate. And will other students from the class of 2006? Those stories next on "Horizon."

Announcer:
Horizon is made possible by contributions of the friends of 8. Members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Michael Grant:
Good evening. Welcome to "Horizon. "I'm Michael Grant. A lawsuit that resulted in fines for the state because of the lack of funding for English language learner programs was at least temporarily successfully appealed by state school superintendent Tom Horne. That appeal also halted a ruling that exempted English learners from passing the aims test to graduate. I'll talk to Arizona school superintendent Tom Horne about that issue and then later we'll talk to the lawyer from the lawsuit here to talk about aims and ell students and the fact that this is the first graduating class which has to pass the aims test, is Tom Horne. Tom, good to see you again.

Tom Horne:
Great to be with you.

Michael Grant: Time's short, but I do want to touch on high school seniors have completed the last full round of testing, right?

Tom Horne: At least the fifth round, yes.

Michael Grant:
Yeah, right.

Michael Grant:
Your expectation has been 90\% ultimately.

Tom Horne:
At least 90\%. Two years ago, when 60\% were failing and people were panicking, said let's eliminate the requirement, I said, no, this requirement is energizing the kids, energizing the schools. Let's stick to it. I predicted that 90\% of those who have the credits to graduate will in fact graduate. We're on track to do that. The number that would have the credits to graduate based on history would be about 53,000. I need 47,000 to pass all three tests. I'm at 44,000, plus change now, so I need another 3,000. I think I'll be there.

Michael Grant:
Here's a darker statistic. As I understand it, only 18\% of the English language learners in the Phoenix union high school district have passed aims. Is it fair not to give them a diploma?

Tom Horne:
Well, while they're classified as English language learners, they're learning the language. Once they've learned the language, they can use it to acquire the academic knowledge they need to have proficiency to succeed in our economy. We have provisions for them to take the test in July, to take the test as many times as they want to in the future to show their proficiency. We're not giving up on anyone. The state will pay for them to go to high school a fifth year if they need to. The way we won that argument, at least temporarily won that argument, was with an affidavit from my deputy superintendent, who was herself an English language learner, taught English language learners for 30 years as a teacher and principal, who said it's very much not in the interest of these students to have a double system, two separate and unequal classes of kids. One class of kids for which we have standards, another class of kids for which we don't have standards, will be given a diploma that's fraudulent and meaningless and -- and doesn't energize them to acquire the skills that they need to succeed in the economy and that people will know as meaningless.

Michael Grant:
All right. Tim Hogan's going to be here in a couple of minutes. I never know what Tim's going to say, but I'm going to guess what his response might be to that. And that is, sure, don't institutionalize this, don't permanently put students on two separate tracks, but here the state affirmatively, demonstratively based on a federal court ruling, has not been providing the monies it's supposed to provide for at least six or seven years, and that's an unfair handicap for this and maybe the next couple classes of graduates.

Tom Horne:
Mike, the first judgment that said was in 2000. I took office in 2003. We've made a lot of progress since then, especially in some of the -- with English language learners. For example, Nogales was the plaintiff district in his case. I've identified four schools in Nogales where between 70\% and 80\% of the kids English language learners two years ago passed all three aims test in English within a two-year period. We're showing tremendous progress in the ability of the kids to succeed on tests given in English, which means they'll have the skills needed to succeed in the economy. The differences are not money. Nogales had less money than other districts. The difference is leadership, the sense of urgency by the teachers, doing things right, and the bill passed by the legislature before the court for the first time gives the department of education money to use for technical assistance, so we'll be able to go to the schools not doing a good job, showing them what's being done in the schools that are being successful, and that's the way we're going to spread success around the state.

Michael Grant:
What's the procedural timetable for the ninth circuit to take this up and figure out weather or not you've won permanently or only temporarily?

Tom Horne:
Argument in late July.

Michael Grant:
And an accelerated briefing schedule to get there, as I understand it.

Tom Horne:
Right.

Michael Grant:
Superintendent of public instruction, Tom Horne, thank you very much.

Tom Horne:
Thank you, Mike.

Michael Grant:
High school students across the state have recently been taking the aims test. They're anxiously awaiting results. That goes for students at camelback high school in phoenix, which does have a significant number of students who are English learning and have to pass the test to get their diploma. I'll talk to the lawyer who filed the Flores lawsuit that led to fines against the state, but first Mike Sauceda tells us about ell students at Camelback high and the aims test.

Mike Sauceda:
Lunchtime at camelback high school in phoenix where the majority of the 2,000 students are Hispanic. It's part of the phoenix union high school district, which has a 76\% aims test passage rate, but among those learning English only 18\% district wide have passed. Pat Hernandez is a counselor who works with English language learner students at camelback high, about 500 of them. This years seniors are the first who must pass the aims test to graduate, and that includes ell students.

Patricia Hernandez:
Obviously those who come in to us speaking no English struggle and fall far below. Once they get into the intermediate and advanced levels and have taken some of the aims prep classes, they're doing much better. I'm confident that especially this senior class we will have only a handful who will not be graduating, because they fall far below.

Mike Sauceda:
State school superintendent Tom Horne appealed the lawsuit on English learner funding that exempted ell students from taking the aims test to graduate.

Patricia Hernandez:
The student that it's really going to hurt is that student who has very low skills, who just barely is able to -- to pass his classes, is not really qualified to -- for special education, so he must take regular classes, or she must take regular classes, does not have the accommodations that a special education student would have. And just is barely making it in school, yet passing.

Mike Sauceda:
Although Horne did successfully pass the exemption for ell students to pass the aims test to graduate, a legal fight continues to grant the exemption, but Hernandez says students are told to ignore that and keep working to pass the test.

Patricia Hernandez:
Unfortunately we have students come to us sometimes saying, I heard that I don't have to pass the aims. And so we have to reeducate them and tell them, no, that is not something that -- that you can count on. You need to make sure that you're going to the tutoring, and doing your part, making sure that you're doing everything that you can in order to meet that standard.

Michael Grant:
Here now to talk about ell students and the aims test is Tim Hogan from the Arizona center for law in public interest. Tim, thanks for joining us.

Tim Hogan: Thank you.

Michael Grant:
What about Tom Horne's argument that you aren't doing these kids any favors if you aren't incenting them with the -- with the aims test to come up with a set of qualifications we think necessary to graduate from high school?

Tim Hogan:
Well, it's an interesting argument. I mean, we tried to incent the state to comply with the judgment in this case by imposing fines on him, and he's appealing that judgment. So I guess it's not good enough for him, but it's good enough for these kids. To me it's just a matter of fundamental fairness. This -- we've had a judicial declaration for six years that this system is under funded and violates federal law. And the state hasn't taken measures to provide adequate funding to support these programs, yet we, on the other hand, are going to demand that these kids meet the state standards. Well, if the state can't meet the federal standards, I don't know why these kids should be expected to meet the state standards. These are kids who have otherwise passed all their courses, otherwise fulfilled all the graduation requirements. What they can't do is pass a test that's administered in English, a high stakes graduation test, and that's just unfair given the circumstances here.

Michael Grant:
Do the numbers support you? I mentioned the 18\% ell segment graduation pass rate on the aims test. Is that a representative number of a broader experience?

Tim Hogan:
Yeah, the numbers we cited to the court when we originally asked the district court to stop the state from requiring aims as a graduation requirement for ell's was in excess of a 20\% pass rate, or about a 20\% pass rate for these kids. So you've got an 80\% failure rate statewide.

Michael Grant:
Your diploma, Tim, I think sometimes this is a tough issue, your diploma is supposed to mean something, supposed to signal to the community that you have a certain level of qualification, and obviously that continues through college and professional school and whatever. If you give someone a diploma, notwithstanding the fact that they haven't met those standards, isn't that to a certain extent false and misleading?

Tim Hogan:
Well, I mean, no, I don't think so. And for a number of reasons. First of all, this is the first year we've required aims as a graduation requirement for all these many years in Arizona, I thought we were doing just fine. And these kids were going to school in that system, where if you succeeded and went to school and did as you were required with your coursework, you had an expectation that at the end of the four years of high school you'd get that diploma. The problem is when -- when you haven't given these kids the tools to take that kind of test, and learning English, just being able to speak English, is a lot different than mastering English sufficiently to be able to pass a test like this, that's administered in English, then the consequences for these kids far outweigh whatever effect is it has on the state. They can't apply to admission at state universities without a -- without a high school diploma, and all the statistics, of course, say that if you don't have a high school diploma, you're not going to earn nearly as much money, the likelihood of ending up in jail is significantly higher, on and on and on. And these are the kids that haven't dropped out. That's the sad part of this. These are kids who have stuck with it, despite having failed the exam.

Michael Grant:
Right.

Tim Hogan:
Who keep trying and have met all the other requirements. It's the state who's failed here by doing what they were supposed to do.

Michael Grant:
Sometimes an appellate court granting a stage means we want to slow things down, take a more thorough look, other times it signals where the court may be going. You got any read on this?

Tim Hogan:
No. I think it's the former in this instance, because the court has accelerated the briefing schedule, accelerated the argument, speeding it up much more quickly than it otherwise would have been, although that's not going to help these kids next month when it comes to graduation, but I don't think you can read too much into it, and I hope you can't read too much into the fact that they've temporarily stayed this pending the outcome of the appeal, especially when they've agreed to hear the appeal so quickly.

Michael Grant:
All right. Tim Hogan, thanks for joining us. Best of luck.

Tim Hogan:
Thank you, Michael.

Michael Grant:
Organizers of yesterday's immigration reform march estimate that between 200,000 and 250,000 people filled the streets of phoenix. City estimate more like 125,000. The purpose of the march, to protest federal immigration legislation that would make illegally crossing the border a felony. The marchers were supporting immigration measures that would allow undocumented immigrants already in the united states to gain legal status, eventually citizenship, but some say yesterday's massive march could be the beginning of a much bigger political movement stirring in the immigrant population. Merry Lucero reports.

Merry Lucero:
The march for comprehensive immigration reform was by far Phoenix's largest political demonstration in history. Across the nation, similar scenes took place. Many say the unified uprising is a profound indicator of the political and economic mite that the Latino community can carry.

Kyrsten Sinema:
You know, today is a brand-new day. Today is a historic day. This is a new social movement, a movement for social justice. A movement for reform. We have strength, we have power, we have unity, we have solidarity, we have hearts, and what do we want? We want -- we want reform, we want justice, and we want equality. So let's start today. [speaking Spanish]

Merry Lucero:
Others say the magnitude of the march simply points to the need for a resolution to the immigration problem.

Ken Bennett:
I think it's an exciting day. Not very many people get to this see this many people in one place at one time for almost any reason, so I think it helps to point out both sides of the debate.

Merry Lucero:
Comprehensive immigration reform was clearly the reason for the march.

Ed Pastor:
And so we ask the U.S. congress to pass an immigration bill that is just and humane and make America what it has been all along -- a country of immigrants who believes in a better life. So America, believe in us and give us the justice and respect that we deserve!

Merry Lucero:
But the relationship between this March and historic civil rights rallies is hard to ignore.

Joe Ceohard:
The people in the 1960's said that blacks would take their jobs. What we've done is broaden America just like we'll broaden and make it inclusive today.

Merry Lucero:
Among the marchers, former followers of Cesar Chavez who demonstrated against migrant workers' low wages and miserable living conditions.

Lucy Ramirez:
This is why we went on the Cesar Chavez movement, but all done in peace. Now we're here for another totally different issue, also under a peaceable thing, but we wouldn't -- we wouldn't like to -- to see any -- any criminal laws passed.

Pete Rios:
I have the opportunity to march in the early 1960's, 1970's, especially here in Arizona in 1971, 1972 after a piece of legislation that the governor signed that the united farm workers of America were very much against. Those particular marches had to do with bringing knowledge and awakening the Latino community. I think it was very successful in doing that. Not only here in the state of Arizona, but nationwide. These particular marches are marches that are coming from grass roots. These are the people, the Latino "gente" themselves that are basically saying, what we want is fairness and justice and we want a comprehensive immigration policy that deals with us fairly.

Margie Solano:
You can relate it. Yes, you can. Because at that time it was for the immigrant workers, for the immigrant work tears make more money, the ones who worked in the field. I did. I came from that. My dad walked with Cesar Chavez. My brother was a bodyguard of Cesar Chavez. So you can relate it. Now we have different issues. In the Hispanic community, all they did was sleep, they fell asleep after that was done, but now it's, hey, it's a wake-up.

Merry Lucero:
Social scientists of the 1950's indeed called the growing population of Mexican immigrants the sleeping giant, even then recognizing the community's potential power, rallying the current Hispanic population's mite would be massive.

Steve Gallardo:
For the past 5 years, myself and other members have been at the capital fighting against anti-immigrant legislation put out by many members that work in the buildings behind us. But we need your help to change the makeup of this body and this country, and the way to do that, the way to do that is to exercise the most fundamental right everyone has, and that's the right to vote!

Merry Lucero:
Clearly more than the estimated 100,000 people gathered here to demonstrate their support of humane immigration reform, but at the end of the march the question still remains -- has the sleeping giant awakened?

Pete Rios:
These marches that are taking place across the nation, they better listen, because this is a sleeping giant that is awakening and tallying the politicos in Washington, D.C. no, we are not criminals. We didn't come across that border to commit crimes. We came across that border to do the jobs that some Americans wouldn't do.

Alfredo Gutierrez:
We got a long way to go. The sleeping giant will awake, when we give rights to all of our people to vote. At this point, you know, it's just one very large adolescent, but it's a spunky adolescent.

Michael Grant:
Here now to talk about civil rights issues at hand are Brenda Thomson, director of the ASU center of law, leadership and management, and Arturo Rosales, professor of ASU department of history. Hello to you both.

Arturo Rosales:
Glad to be here.

Michael Grant:
Arturo, let me toss out that question. Was it just a big giant march yesterday or is it the start of -- has it kicked it up a notch, I think, as I said last night.

Arturo Rosales:
Well, it's a groundswell movement. It's an issue that is very easy to understand. I was there at the march myself. The majority of the people were immigrants, I think, or their children or -- you know, to them it was something that they really want. Just the fact that they were willing to use the American flag. They really want reform legislation that's going to make it easier for them to be in this country. They're tired of the bashing. I think that's what created such a tremendous response. We were all surprised, by the way, Mike.

Michael Grant:
Really? With that kind of --

Arturo Rosales:
The amount.

Michael Grant:
One of the things that does occur to me, certainly not to minimize the efforts of march organizers now, but the kind of communication tools that are available to circulate word about this thing in sharp contrast to the communication tools that existed in the 1950's and 1960's. At least allow the word to circulate.

Arturo Rosales:
That's right. And, you know, Spanish language radio, television.

Michael Grant:
Right.

Arturo Rosales:
There's so many stations, I can't even tell you how many there are, there's always a new one. What is important is that the people that are -- you know, people, when they're expected to be involved in civil rights, have become involved, up, the radio announcers, and as a consequence it's a part of the world that many of us don't see. You know, that particular type of media. So that's why it seems so -- such a surprise.

Michael Grant:
Brenda, you also were there. You think it was just -- obviously a formidable number of people together, or does it signal something larger than that for the long haul?

Brenda Thomson:
Well, I hope that it does. One of the things that I appreciated being there was the visibility of so many families and people from all -- across different age spectrums, because I think often when you hear the issue immigration written about, they will say it's the invisible minority or the invisible, you know, group, that we can't quite put our finger on how many people are here. Well, we could see them. There are estimates, there are anywhere from 10 million to 15 million undocumented in the United States. Arizona in particular is an entrance point, apparently 400,000 people a year, estimates thereabouts, enter the United States from our borders. They may go to other parts of the country, but we're the place that they come to.

Michael Grant:
Right, California and Texas have squeezed them into the corridor.

Brenda Thomson:
They're not invisible. I mean, people use that descriptive term, but there's in stores, restaurants, businesses, many are second and third and fourth generation. I think this was an opportunity for people, particularly who are -- I don't know if you caught some of the interviews. They would say, I've been here for 35 years. 16 I've been here for 25 years. I've been here for 15 years. I don't want my children or family members to go through what I went through.

Michael Grant:
Here's what I guess I would offer as a distinction or difference with attitudes in the 1950's and 1960's toward civil rights movement. That was viewed-- there were a lot of strong images there, we talked before we went on the air about fire hoses and dogs in the south, and I think those images were burned into the brains of the American people. Those were American citizens being deprived of constitutional rights that they were entitled to, and I think ultimately, thank goodness, the vast majority of the country said that's simply wrong. I'm not sure that many Americans view this issue the same way. It's a border security issue. It is an issue having to do with weather or not people follow the rules coming here or they don't. Does that make a difference?

Brenda Thomson:
Well, it does, but also immigrants are entitled to certain rights and protections under the law as well. When you look at the size -- sheer size of that labor force, 10 million to 15 million, there's no way that laws can be broken on both sides. You have employers as well disregarding the status and employing people. And the laws are violated when it comes to paying people appropriately. You can't say you don't want people here and hire and then hire them to do the most dangerous jobs, pay them the lowest wages and abuse them. There are people that work all day, and at the end of the day aren't paid at all. We have laws in this country to pay people for a hard day's labor, irrespective of whether they're a citizen or not.

Michael Grant:
Right.

Brenda Thomson:
And we have immigration laws which were simply disregarding when it's convenient.

Michael Grant:
Arturo, do you think a lot of Americans see this the same way as they saw the civil rights movement in the 1960's?

Arturo Rosales:
Probably not. They do get a mixed message, there's no doubt that -- that they feel welcome by a large segment of the population in the United States, which are the employers. That's why they come here. And they know -- they know that they're needed. They know they're wanted by the employers.

Michael Grant:
Right.

Arturo Rosales:
So they feel like they're contributing something.

Michael Grant:
That's part of what's being discussed, though, when you talk about comprehensive immigration reform. All the poll results I've seen recently indicate 60\% or 70\% of the people indicate employers ought to be hammered, too.

Arturo Rosales:
I don't think that's possible, because the employers are --

Michael Grant:
May not, but part of what we're talking about is what do Americans think.

Arturo Rosales:
Before -- before that happens, they will -- you know, congress will provide some relief. That's really what this is all about, relief for the employers. You know, at the same time, we have to figure out what advantage the immigrants are going to get out of this, but certainly the employers are the ones who want relief. It's so ironic, right? That's why the issue is so complex.

Michael Grant:
Almost out of time. Has this got staying power or is it episodic? I mean, is it because capitol has been thrashing around things like felonies?

Brenda Thomson:
I think it definitely has staying power. This is a time when things have converged, especially for Arizona. This issue is on everyone's minds. I think we have the chance to stand up and be an example to other states in the United States about how to deal with people fairly and equitably. What they're really asking for is respect, dignity, and equality. And that's what the United States is known for.

Michael Grant:
Brenda Thomson, thank you very much for joining us. Arturo Rosales, good to see you again.

Arturo Rosales:
My pleasure.

Michael Grant:
Thank you so much for joining us as well on this Tuesday edition of "Horizon." I'm Michael Grant. Have a great one.

Announcer:
Horizon is made possible by contributions of the friends of 8. Members who provide support to this Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Immigration March Follow-Up


  • Join Brenda Thomson, Director of the ASU Center of Law, Leadership and Management and Arturo Rosales, Ph.D, Professor of ASUís Department of History for a fascinating discussion about the historic civil rights implications of Mondayís immigration march.
Guests:
  • Tom Horne - Arizona State Superintendent of Schools
  • Tim Hogan - Arizona Center for Law in Public Interest


View Transcript
Michael Grant:
Tonight on "Horizon," was yesterday's march simply a demonstration for comprehensive immigration reform or a much larger display of the potential power of a community?

Michael Grant:
Plus, looks like English learner students will have to pass the aims test to graduate. And will other students from the class of 2006? Those stories next on "Horizon."

Announcer:
Horizon is made possible by contributions of the friends of 8. Members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Michael Grant:
Good evening. Welcome to "Horizon. "I'm Michael Grant. A lawsuit that resulted in fines for the state because of the lack of funding for English language learner programs was at least temporarily successfully appealed by state school superintendent Tom Horne. That appeal also halted a ruling that exempted English learners from passing the aims test to graduate. I'll talk to Arizona school superintendent Tom Horne about that issue and then later we'll talk to the lawyer from the lawsuit here to talk about aims and ell students and the fact that this is the first graduating class which has to pass the aims test, is Tom Horne. Tom, good to see you again.

Tom Horne:
Great to be with you.

Michael Grant: Time's short, but I do want to touch on high school seniors have completed the last full round of testing, right?

Tom Horne: At least the fifth round, yes.

Michael Grant:
Yeah, right.

Michael Grant:
Your expectation has been 90\% ultimately.

Tom Horne:
At least 90\%. Two years ago, when 60\% were failing and people were panicking, said let's eliminate the requirement, I said, no, this requirement is energizing the kids, energizing the schools. Let's stick to it. I predicted that 90\% of those who have the credits to graduate will in fact graduate. We're on track to do that. The number that would have the credits to graduate based on history would be about 53,000. I need 47,000 to pass all three tests. I'm at 44,000, plus change now, so I need another 3,000. I think I'll be there.

Michael Grant:
Here's a darker statistic. As I understand it, only 18\% of the English language learners in the Phoenix union high school district have passed aims. Is it fair not to give them a diploma?

Tom Horne:
Well, while they're classified as English language learners, they're learning the language. Once they've learned the language, they can use it to acquire the academic knowledge they need to have proficiency to succeed in our economy. We have provisions for them to take the test in July, to take the test as many times as they want to in the future to show their proficiency. We're not giving up on anyone. The state will pay for them to go to high school a fifth year if they need to. The way we won that argument, at least temporarily won that argument, was with an affidavit from my deputy superintendent, who was herself an English language learner, taught English language learners for 30 years as a teacher and principal, who said it's very much not in the interest of these students to have a double system, two separate and unequal classes of kids. One class of kids for which we have standards, another class of kids for which we don't have standards, will be given a diploma that's fraudulent and meaningless and -- and doesn't energize them to acquire the skills that they need to succeed in the economy and that people will know as meaningless.

Michael Grant:
All right. Tim Hogan's going to be here in a couple of minutes. I never know what Tim's going to say, but I'm going to guess what his response might be to that. And that is, sure, don't institutionalize this, don't permanently put students on two separate tracks, but here the state affirmatively, demonstratively based on a federal court ruling, has not been providing the monies it's supposed to provide for at least six or seven years, and that's an unfair handicap for this and maybe the next couple classes of graduates.

Tom Horne:
Mike, the first judgment that said was in 2000. I took office in 2003. We've made a lot of progress since then, especially in some of the -- with English language learners. For example, Nogales was the plaintiff district in his case. I've identified four schools in Nogales where between 70\% and 80\% of the kids English language learners two years ago passed all three aims test in English within a two-year period. We're showing tremendous progress in the ability of the kids to succeed on tests given in English, which means they'll have the skills needed to succeed in the economy. The differences are not money. Nogales had less money than other districts. The difference is leadership, the sense of urgency by the teachers, doing things right, and the bill passed by the legislature before the court for the first time gives the department of education money to use for technical assistance, so we'll be able to go to the schools not doing a good job, showing them what's being done in the schools that are being successful, and that's the way we're going to spread success around the state.

Michael Grant:
What's the procedural timetable for the ninth circuit to take this up and figure out weather or not you've won permanently or only temporarily?

Tom Horne:
Argument in late July.

Michael Grant:
And an accelerated briefing schedule to get there, as I understand it.

Tom Horne:
Right.

Michael Grant:
Superintendent of public instruction, Tom Horne, thank you very much.

Tom Horne:
Thank you, Mike.

Michael Grant:
High school students across the state have recently been taking the aims test. They're anxiously awaiting results. That goes for students at camelback high school in phoenix, which does have a significant number of students who are English learning and have to pass the test to get their diploma. I'll talk to the lawyer who filed the Flores lawsuit that led to fines against the state, but first Mike Sauceda tells us about ell students at Camelback high and the aims test.

Mike Sauceda:
Lunchtime at camelback high school in phoenix where the majority of the 2,000 students are Hispanic. It's part of the phoenix union high school district, which has a 76\% aims test passage rate, but among those learning English only 18\% district wide have passed. Pat Hernandez is a counselor who works with English language learner students at camelback high, about 500 of them. This years seniors are the first who must pass the aims test to graduate, and that includes ell students.

Patricia Hernandez:
Obviously those who come in to us speaking no English struggle and fall far below. Once they get into the intermediate and advanced levels and have taken some of the aims prep classes, they're doing much better. I'm confident that especially this senior class we will have only a handful who will not be graduating, because they fall far below.

Mike Sauceda:
State school superintendent Tom Horne appealed the lawsuit on English learner funding that exempted ell students from taking the aims test to graduate.

Patricia Hernandez:
The student that it's really going to hurt is that student who has very low skills, who just barely is able to -- to pass his classes, is not really qualified to -- for special education, so he must take regular classes, or she must take regular classes, does not have the accommodations that a special education student would have. And just is barely making it in school, yet passing.

Mike Sauceda:
Although Horne did successfully pass the exemption for ell students to pass the aims test to graduate, a legal fight continues to grant the exemption, but Hernandez says students are told to ignore that and keep working to pass the test.

Patricia Hernandez:
Unfortunately we have students come to us sometimes saying, I heard that I don't have to pass the aims. And so we have to reeducate them and tell them, no, that is not something that -- that you can count on. You need to make sure that you're going to the tutoring, and doing your part, making sure that you're doing everything that you can in order to meet that standard.

Michael Grant:
Here now to talk about ell students and the aims test is Tim Hogan from the Arizona center for law in public interest. Tim, thanks for joining us.

Tim Hogan: Thank you.

Michael Grant:
What about Tom Horne's argument that you aren't doing these kids any favors if you aren't incenting them with the -- with the aims test to come up with a set of qualifications we think necessary to graduate from high school?

Tim Hogan:
Well, it's an interesting argument. I mean, we tried to incent the state to comply with the judgment in this case by imposing fines on him, and he's appealing that judgment. So I guess it's not good enough for him, but it's good enough for these kids. To me it's just a matter of fundamental fairness. This -- we've had a judicial declaration for six years that this system is under funded and violates federal law. And the state hasn't taken measures to provide adequate funding to support these programs, yet we, on the other hand, are going to demand that these kids meet the state standards. Well, if the state can't meet the federal standards, I don't know why these kids should be expected to meet the state standards. These are kids who have otherwise passed all their courses, otherwise fulfilled all the graduation requirements. What they can't do is pass a test that's administered in English, a high stakes graduation test, and that's just unfair given the circumstances here.

Michael Grant:
Do the numbers support you? I mentioned the 18\% ell segment graduation pass rate on the aims test. Is that a representative number of a broader experience?

Tim Hogan:
Yeah, the numbers we cited to the court when we originally asked the district court to stop the state from requiring aims as a graduation requirement for ell's was in excess of a 20\% pass rate, or about a 20\% pass rate for these kids. So you've got an 80\% failure rate statewide.

Michael Grant:
Your diploma, Tim, I think sometimes this is a tough issue, your diploma is supposed to mean something, supposed to signal to the community that you have a certain level of qualification, and obviously that continues through college and professional school and whatever. If you give someone a diploma, notwithstanding the fact that they haven't met those standards, isn't that to a certain extent false and misleading?

Tim Hogan:
Well, I mean, no, I don't think so. And for a number of reasons. First of all, this is the first year we've required aims as a graduation requirement for all these many years in Arizona, I thought we were doing just fine. And these kids were going to school in that system, where if you succeeded and went to school and did as you were required with your coursework, you had an expectation that at the end of the four years of high school you'd get that diploma. The problem is when -- when you haven't given these kids the tools to take that kind of test, and learning English, just being able to speak English, is a lot different than mastering English sufficiently to be able to pass a test like this, that's administered in English, then the consequences for these kids far outweigh whatever effect is it has on the state. They can't apply to admission at state universities without a -- without a high school diploma, and all the statistics, of course, say that if you don't have a high school diploma, you're not going to earn nearly as much money, the likelihood of ending up in jail is significantly higher, on and on and on. And these are the kids that haven't dropped out. That's the sad part of this. These are kids who have stuck with it, despite having failed the exam.

Michael Grant:
Right.

Tim Hogan:
Who keep trying and have met all the other requirements. It's the state who's failed here by doing what they were supposed to do.

Michael Grant:
Sometimes an appellate court granting a stage means we want to slow things down, take a more thorough look, other times it signals where the court may be going. You got any read on this?

Tim Hogan:
No. I think it's the former in this instance, because the court has accelerated the briefing schedule, accelerated the argument, speeding it up much more quickly than it otherwise would have been, although that's not going to help these kids next month when it comes to graduation, but I don't think you can read too much into it, and I hope you can't read too much into the fact that they've temporarily stayed this pending the outcome of the appeal, especially when they've agreed to hear the appeal so quickly.

Michael Grant:
All right. Tim Hogan, thanks for joining us. Best of luck.

Tim Hogan:
Thank you, Michael.

Michael Grant:
Organizers of yesterday's immigration reform march estimate that between 200,000 and 250,000 people filled the streets of phoenix. City estimate more like 125,000. The purpose of the march, to protest federal immigration legislation that would make illegally crossing the border a felony. The marchers were supporting immigration measures that would allow undocumented immigrants already in the united states to gain legal status, eventually citizenship, but some say yesterday's massive march could be the beginning of a much bigger political movement stirring in the immigrant population. Merry Lucero reports.

Merry Lucero:
The march for comprehensive immigration reform was by far Phoenix's largest political demonstration in history. Across the nation, similar scenes took place. Many say the unified uprising is a profound indicator of the political and economic mite that the Latino community can carry.

Kyrsten Sinema:
You know, today is a brand-new day. Today is a historic day. This is a new social movement, a movement for social justice. A movement for reform. We have strength, we have power, we have unity, we have solidarity, we have hearts, and what do we want? We want -- we want reform, we want justice, and we want equality. So let's start today. [speaking Spanish]

Merry Lucero:
Others say the magnitude of the march simply points to the need for a resolution to the immigration problem.

Ken Bennett:
I think it's an exciting day. Not very many people get to this see this many people in one place at one time for almost any reason, so I think it helps to point out both sides of the debate.

Merry Lucero:
Comprehensive immigration reform was clearly the reason for the march.

Ed Pastor:
And so we ask the U.S. congress to pass an immigration bill that is just and humane and make America what it has been all along -- a country of immigrants who believes in a better life. So America, believe in us and give us the justice and respect that we deserve!

Merry Lucero:
But the relationship between this March and historic civil rights rallies is hard to ignore.

Joe Ceohard:
The people in the 1960's said that blacks would take their jobs. What we've done is broaden America just like we'll broaden and make it inclusive today.

Merry Lucero:
Among the marchers, former followers of Cesar Chavez who demonstrated against migrant workers' low wages and miserable living conditions.

Lucy Ramirez:
This is why we went on the Cesar Chavez movement, but all done in peace. Now we're here for another totally different issue, also under a peaceable thing, but we wouldn't -- we wouldn't like to -- to see any -- any criminal laws passed.

Pete Rios:
I have the opportunity to march in the early 1960's, 1970's, especially here in Arizona in 1971, 1972 after a piece of legislation that the governor signed that the united farm workers of America were very much against. Those particular marches had to do with bringing knowledge and awakening the Latino community. I think it was very successful in doing that. Not only here in the state of Arizona, but nationwide. These particular marches are marches that are coming from grass roots. These are the people, the Latino "gente" themselves that are basically saying, what we want is fairness and justice and we want a comprehensive immigration policy that deals with us fairly.

Margie Solano:
You can relate it. Yes, you can. Because at that time it was for the immigrant workers, for the immigrant work tears make more money, the ones who worked in the field. I did. I came from that. My dad walked with Cesar Chavez. My brother was a bodyguard of Cesar Chavez. So you can relate it. Now we have different issues. In the Hispanic community, all they did was sleep, they fell asleep after that was done, but now it's, hey, it's a wake-up.

Merry Lucero:
Social scientists of the 1950's indeed called the growing population of Mexican immigrants the sleeping giant, even then recognizing the community's potential power, rallying the current Hispanic population's mite would be massive.

Steve Gallardo:
For the past 5 years, myself and other members have been at the capital fighting against anti-immigrant legislation put out by many members that work in the buildings behind us. But we need your help to change the makeup of this body and this country, and the way to do that, the way to do that is to exercise the most fundamental right everyone has, and that's the right to vote!

Merry Lucero:
Clearly more than the estimated 100,000 people gathered here to demonstrate their support of humane immigration reform, but at the end of the march the question still remains -- has the sleeping giant awakened?

Pete Rios:
These marches that are taking place across the nation, they better listen, because this is a sleeping giant that is awakening and tallying the politicos in Washington, D.C. no, we are not criminals. We didn't come across that border to commit crimes. We came across that border to do the jobs that some Americans wouldn't do.

Alfredo Gutierrez:
We got a long way to go. The sleeping giant will awake, when we give rights to all of our people to vote. At this point, you know, it's just one very large adolescent, but it's a spunky adolescent.

Michael Grant:
Here now to talk about civil rights issues at hand are Brenda Thomson, director of the ASU center of law, leadership and management, and Arturo Rosales, professor of ASU department of history. Hello to you both.

Arturo Rosales:
Glad to be here.

Michael Grant:
Arturo, let me toss out that question. Was it just a big giant march yesterday or is it the start of -- has it kicked it up a notch, I think, as I said last night.

Arturo Rosales:
Well, it's a groundswell movement. It's an issue that is very easy to understand. I was there at the march myself. The majority of the people were immigrants, I think, or their children or -- you know, to them it was something that they really want. Just the fact that they were willing to use the American flag. They really want reform legislation that's going to make it easier for them to be in this country. They're tired of the bashing. I think that's what created such a tremendous response. We were all surprised, by the way, Mike.

Michael Grant:
Really? With that kind of --

Arturo Rosales:
The amount.

Michael Grant:
One of the things that does occur to me, certainly not to minimize the efforts of march organizers now, but the kind of communication tools that are available to circulate word about this thing in sharp contrast to the communication tools that existed in the 1950's and 1960's. At least allow the word to circulate.

Arturo Rosales:
That's right. And, you know, Spanish language radio, television.

Michael Grant:
Right.

Arturo Rosales:
There's so many stations, I can't even tell you how many there are, there's always a new one. What is important is that the people that are -- you know, people, when they're expected to be involved in civil rights, have become involved, up, the radio announcers, and as a consequence it's a part of the world that many of us don't see. You know, that particular type of media. So that's why it seems so -- such a surprise.

Michael Grant:
Brenda, you also were there. You think it was just -- obviously a formidable number of people together, or does it signal something larger than that for the long haul?

Brenda Thomson:
Well, I hope that it does. One of the things that I appreciated being there was the visibility of so many families and people from all -- across different age spectrums, because I think often when you hear the issue immigration written about, they will say it's the invisible minority or the invisible, you know, group, that we can't quite put our finger on how many people are here. Well, we could see them. There are estimates, there are anywhere from 10 million to 15 million undocumented in the United States. Arizona in particular is an entrance point, apparently 400,000 people a year, estimates thereabouts, enter the United States from our borders. They may go to other parts of the country, but we're the place that they come to.

Michael Grant:
Right, California and Texas have squeezed them into the corridor.

Brenda Thomson:
They're not invisible. I mean, people use that descriptive term, but there's in stores, restaurants, businesses, many are second and third and fourth generation. I think this was an opportunity for people, particularly who are -- I don't know if you caught some of the interviews. They would say, I've been here for 35 years. 16 I've been here for 25 years. I've been here for 15 years. I don't want my children or family members to go through what I went through.

Michael Grant:
Here's what I guess I would offer as a distinction or difference with attitudes in the 1950's and 1960's toward civil rights movement. That was viewed-- there were a lot of strong images there, we talked before we went on the air about fire hoses and dogs in the south, and I think those images were burned into the brains of the American people. Those were American citizens being deprived of constitutional rights that they were entitled to, and I think ultimately, thank goodness, the vast majority of the country said that's simply wrong. I'm not sure that many Americans view this issue the same way. It's a border security issue. It is an issue having to do with weather or not people follow the rules coming here or they don't. Does that make a difference?

Brenda Thomson:
Well, it does, but also immigrants are entitled to certain rights and protections under the law as well. When you look at the size -- sheer size of that labor force, 10 million to 15 million, there's no way that laws can be broken on both sides. You have employers as well disregarding the status and employing people. And the laws are violated when it comes to paying people appropriately. You can't say you don't want people here and hire and then hire them to do the most dangerous jobs, pay them the lowest wages and abuse them. There are people that work all day, and at the end of the day aren't paid at all. We have laws in this country to pay people for a hard day's labor, irrespective of whether they're a citizen or not.

Michael Grant:
Right.

Brenda Thomson:
And we have immigration laws which were simply disregarding when it's convenient.

Michael Grant:
Arturo, do you think a lot of Americans see this the same way as they saw the civil rights movement in the 1960's?

Arturo Rosales:
Probably not. They do get a mixed message, there's no doubt that -- that they feel welcome by a large segment of the population in the United States, which are the employers. That's why they come here. And they know -- they know that they're needed. They know they're wanted by the employers.

Michael Grant:
Right.

Arturo Rosales:
So they feel like they're contributing something.

Michael Grant:
That's part of what's being discussed, though, when you talk about comprehensive immigration reform. All the poll results I've seen recently indicate 60\% or 70\% of the people indicate employers ought to be hammered, too.

Arturo Rosales:
I don't think that's possible, because the employers are --

Michael Grant:
May not, but part of what we're talking about is what do Americans think.

Arturo Rosales:
Before -- before that happens, they will -- you know, congress will provide some relief. That's really what this is all about, relief for the employers. You know, at the same time, we have to figure out what advantage the immigrants are going to get out of this, but certainly the employers are the ones who want relief. It's so ironic, right? That's why the issue is so complex.

Michael Grant:
Almost out of time. Has this got staying power or is it episodic? I mean, is it because capitol has been thrashing around things like felonies?

Brenda Thomson:
I think it definitely has staying power. This is a time when things have converged, especially for Arizona. This issue is on everyone's minds. I think we have the chance to stand up and be an example to other states in the United States about how to deal with people fairly and equitably. What they're really asking for is respect, dignity, and equality. And that's what the United States is known for.

Michael Grant:
Brenda Thomson, thank you very much for joining us. Arturo Rosales, good to see you again.

Arturo Rosales:
My pleasure.

Michael Grant:
Thank you so much for joining us as well on this Tuesday edition of "Horizon." I'm Michael Grant. Have a great one.

Announcer:
Horizon is made possible by contributions of the friends of 8. Members who provide support to this Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

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