[2/22] For Our Future: This Week's Education News & More

by Seth Saavedra │Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

Friends & Colleagues -

Whewwwwwww, that's it for this year's sprint at the Roundhouse. Action around education was sparse, but that's par for the course. Perhaps everyone's waiting for the new governor next year? As rhetoric on the gubernatorial campaign trail heats up this spring, I'll be listening for sensible, forward-looking positions. Until then, here's this week's roundup:

[LOCAL: NEWS] Our Lawmakers Failed Students, Again. Despite the passage of much needed raises for teachers, 2018 again demonstrates our legislature's inertia around public education.

One might think with all the posturing around education, not to mention the chronic miseducation of our students, there would be a fire inside all 112 Senators and Representatives. You'd be wrong, again.

Through a bewildering array of regressive policy views, stonewalling, and union pandering, our beloved elected leaders defeated a wide range of smart bills, including:

As the Journal writes, "Many of these reforms have been put in place elsewhere and have produced data to show they work. Yet none gained any traction in New Mexico this year."

How do we have all the problems yet none of the solutions?

And at what point will we finally acknowledge that we can't continue to do the same things and get different results? We complain about "teacher shortages" (which is a myth) but fight against opening new paths into the field. We complain about family engagement and truancy, but kill common sense measures to address both.

If our lawmakers can't lead us to a different story for students, we need to find different lawmakers.

[LOCAL: NEWS] The New Mexico Reform Story. As this year's gubernatorial election looms, many are asking what comes next in The Land Enchantment. After eight years of ambitious, often unpopular, changes to public education: Will we continue to evolve and more forward - or will we return to our old ways and take four steps backward?

[LOCAL: NEWS] Santa Fe's Education Bulwark. Senator Mimi Stewart is known for her tenacity. Searchlight New Mexico adds background to this story and tells how the non-New Mexico native has become one of the most powerful voices in the Roundhouse.

[LOCAL: NEWS] Education and New Mexico's Budget. Though the abbreviated 2018 session has wrapped up, the unending debate about how much we could, should, and would spend on K12 education rages on. KUNM's Let's Talk New Mexico hosted an hourlong show digging into some details.

[NATIONAL: RESEARCH] There Is No "Teacher Shortage". Alarming calls about a persistent teacher shortage, nationwide and at home, are exactly that: alarmist. There is no generic turnover threat. What we find instead are specific challenges related to certain districts, schools, and content areas: SPED and Elementary here in NM.


In fact, as researcher Chad Aldeman shares, "Public schools have much lower rates of job openings, hire rates, quit rates, and voluntary and involuntary separations than every industry except the federal government. Across all these measures, public schools have employee mobility rates that are roughly half the national averages."

So, next time you hear someone talk about a dire teacher shortage, call it like it is: Fake News.

[NATIONAL: STORY] Promethea Unbound. Mike Mariani brings the true, poignant story about a child genius growing up in poverty, yet determined to change the world. And also the many challenges children like her face in their quest for happiness and fulfillment.