Originally Published: February 19, 2005 7:10 a.m.
The Arizona Legislature seems to be making its own version of the comedy film "Dumb and Dumber."
The Associated Press reported Wednesday that a Senate committee approved a bill to repeal the requirement that high school students must pass the Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) test to receive their high school diploma.
In every aspect of human endeavor, people have to set and achieve goals. Manufacturers have to meet quality and safety standards. Salespeople have to meet quotas. Learned professionals must prove their knowledge and abilities on exams to obtain their licenses.
But the supposedly best and brightest people in our state Legislature want to go back to the same old recipe for educational mediocrity.
We throw lots of money at the schools and take the results they give us, which for many years have been less than sterling.
Lawmakers say the state needs to repeal the requirement because more than half the current junior class has failed at least one part of the test.
The solution to that problem is not throwing standards on the scrap heap; it lies in some combination of matching curriculum more closely to the test questions, teaching better and (perhaps most important) the students working harder.
Even if students were cinching the current test on the first try, they still may not be good enough to compete and survive effectively in a global economy, because many other developed countries are educating their children better than we are.
Many of the professors who teach mathematics, engineering and pure sciences at the university level come from Japan, China, India, Pakistan and the Philippines.
The state may need to tinker with the AIMS test and the requirement, but to chuck the whole thing is to surrender to same directionless, money-sucking mediocrity we've seen for the past two decades.