Arizona's Goldwater Institute filed a lawsuit to protect the autonomy of five top-performing charter schools in the state. The Arizona Dept. of Education mandated the schools align their curricula to the state's curriculum sequence, which is prescribed for each grade level. The charter schools contend that by "dumbing down" their curriculum, it would significantly alter their original school design.
According to Dr. Daniel Scoggin, CEO of one of the charter schools, "Our students want to be challenged with greater depth, coverage, and content and to have access to an advanced prep school experience in a public school setting. The increasing pressure from the state to align our curriculum to all other public schools compromises our unique charter and the options offered to Arizona families."
Four of the charter schools involved in the lawsuit rank among the top ten schools in Arizona, based on scores from their state assessment. Additionally, one of the schools (BASIS Tuscon) was ranked in the top ten high schools nationwide according to Newsweek.
The new Goldwater Institute Scarf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation has filed this lawsuit on behalf of the five charter schools. The litigation center's director is Clint Bolick. In 2003, the Arizona Dept. of Education began mandating charter schools align their curriculum to the state prescribed curriculum. Compliance problems developed this year when the state required all schools to teach U.S. History in 7th & 8th grades. At least some of the charter schools in the lawsuit teach ancient history in 7th grade and medieval history in 8th grade as a prerequisite to U.S. History in 9th grade.