by Seth Saavedra │Friday, June 8th, 2018
Friends & Colleagues -
Now that our primary week is over, it's clear that progressive Dems are riding a wave in New Mexico. In a state that's usually a more moderate shade of blue, we look headed to a deeper hue. We are also poised to be the first to send a Native American woman to Congress, a seminal moment for our state and country.
The education implications for this wave are worrisome for this advocate. Though my hope is the regressive "get rid of everything" rhetoric of 2018 tones down after November's elections. And here's this week's roundup:
[LOCAL: NEWS] APS's Plan for Hawthorne Elementary Conditionally Approved. In a letter sent from NMPED to APS yesterday, Secretary of Education Ruszkowski approved Hawthorne's "Champion and Provide Choice" submission. Hawthorne requested almost $1 million for their efforts, which NMPED agreed to provide in installments contingent on these six conditions:
Any and all financial resources provided serve only current Hawthorne students;
Hawthorne students receive highest-priority for their schools of choice and are guaranteed a seat in a higher-performing school if they seek one;
NMPED reviews and approves all communications materials provided to Hawthorne students and families;
APS provides NMPED with quarterly school enrollment updates;
NMPED staff are present for, and/or co-host, each school choice expo; and
NMPED may provide additional materials to Hawthorne parents and families.
The conditions aim to make two things clear. First, Hawthorne students and families are at the center of these efforts. And, second, APS must earnestly work to improve the school for teachers and students and not play for shadow games.
Without doubt, district leadership is banking on our next governor relieving them of their duties to Hawthorne families. We advocates must remain vigilant and remind APS that, regardless of school grade, too many of our schools continue to mis- and under-educate our children.
[LOCAL: NEWS] New Mexico Teachers Release Reports on Pre-K and Teacher Preparation. Growing powerhouse Teach Plus New Mexico issued recommendations on: "Tailoring Preparation Programs to Better Fit Student, Teacher, and Community Needs" and "An Equitable Approach for Pre-K Enrollment".
Both are commonsense reports, grounded in equity, from some of our state's best teachers.
[LOCAL: NEWS] Southern NM Districts Tackle Budget Challenges Head On. Carlsbad and Hobbs Municipal Schools superintendents shared their efforts to reach all their students. This despite the volatile ups and downs of the oil-and-gas extraction industries both cities rely on. The article includes these gems:
[LOCAL: VIEWPOINT] Local Advocate Points Towards Our Acclaimed ESSA Plan. Executive Director of NMKidsCAN, Amanda Aragon, calls for state leaders to follow one of the nation's best ESSA plans as they improve schools: OUR OWN. She also asks, "If we don't show up for students, who will? If we do show up with a committed approach to school turnaround, who will take inspiration from our success?"
[NATIONAL: RESEARCH] Academic Preparation Is a Key Predictor of College Success. A recent study from the American Enterprise Institute finds:
High school grades are correlated with degree attainment. Earning good grades in high school typically requires developing habits that are relevant for college success;
After controlling for selection bias, students who take more rigorous coursework are more likely to succeed in college; and
Researchers and educators should collaborate on pilot interventions aimed at improving success in high school courses. These could be focused on content or more general strategies aimed at helping students learn how to learn.