Talking to Tom Horne about test scores is like questioning a suspect in a murder. He gets nervous, defensive, and passes blame to anyone who controls his budget. As if the AIMS test is the ultimate barometer for his success.
What boosts test scores? Money, obviously.
So when President Obama suggested a longer school year and possibly some new federal money, our chief of schools piped down the anti-Obama rhetoric and listened to his inner-cha-ching.
"If it's a federal initiative, and there were federal funding for it, I think it would have more effect on increasing test scores than anything else you can do -- both because of the benefit of having the kids learn longer and because with higher salaries for teachers, we could attract and retain more highly qualified people," Horne tells 92.3 FM (KTAR).
So essentially, Horney wants to keep your kids in school longer. Awesome. He's doing a fabulous job with the time he's already got.
"During the summertime, the poorest kids are the ones who lose the most," Horne nervously tells 92.3 FM (KTAR), "because middle-class kids' parents usually do things to stimulate them, so a lot of the gap we have between the poor kids and middle-class kids is due to the summer vacation."
Horne, the salesman that he is, thinks families will benefit exponentially as a result of keeping the kids in school longer.
"We need to shorten the summer vacation. If it were just a month, parents would know exactly when they could plan their vacations. They wouldn't have to worry about what they were going to do with the kids all summer long. Our test scores would go up, we would compete better internationally," Horne says.
Thank you. However, most parents don't need a travel agent, they need someone to drag their children out of the dismal abyss that is Arizona's public school system.
You thought your teens were moody now? Wait until their stuck in school for an extra month and a half.