by Seth Saavedra │Thursday, July 5th, 2018
Friends & Colleagues -
Last week's post calling out the upside-down world of Albuquerque Public Schools quickly became the most read post in our one and a half years of existence, garnering nearly 5,000 views. The Albuquerque Journal even reran the piece on The Fourth of July. Let freedom ring indeed.
Most of the reaction and commentary was positive, with some disagreement, including a concerted effort led by ATF that sent text messages to members encouraging "a Facebook campaign" to attack me and the site. It's important to debate differences in practice or policy - and we can do so without stooping to ad hominem attacks.
Often these attempts to shut down independent voices are successful. Old school intimidation tactics are also used to silence educators daily. I hear these types of stories all too often, with teachers concerned about speaking up for fear of retaliation. Yet we persist, undaunted by the personal attacks and mischaracterizations of the hard work of education transformation.
The truth is often harsh - but we face it directly. Change is hard, and we need a new era of education leaders able to guide us to new frontiers instead of tethering us to stale ideas that keep some comfortable but make life on teachers and students unbearable.
Let's keep up the good, hard fight for our students. Here's this week's roundup:
[LOCAL: NEWS] Homegrown Summer Program Expanding and Finding Continued Success. K-3 Plus, a summer program reaching thousands of students in 50 districts and charter schools across NM, has a nearly $28 million budget this summer. Shown to significantly improve reading proficiencies, K-3 Plus provides low-income families crucial learning time beyond the school year.
[LOCAL: OPINION] New Mexico Educator Calls for More Accountability in Our Relationships. A long time NM teacher asks "if we do not raise the bar for what our students can achieve and use our relationships to push and support them in this effort, how will we ever change the cycle?" The bottom line is we can't exclude accountability from our relationships. Holding one another to high-standards is at the heart of any authentic partnership.
[LOCAL: STORY] Young New Mexicans Seek Greener Pastures Elsewhere. Amy Linn of Searchlight New Mexico digs into the well-known "brain drain" in New Mexico, providing the numbers and names behind a trend that "for the first time in state history, [our] older generation is better educated than the younger generation." One of the biggest challenges for those seeking to move to or stay in New Mexico is the lack of quality public school options. Unless a family can afford private school, there are often few available choices for parents.
[NATIONAL: NEWS] An Important Reminder That What Happens In A School Matters Most. Joanne Jacobs brings a story from San Francisco where a new $54 million middle school continues to struggle with student learning. This is an important reminder that a great building doesn't a great school make. Nor does an old building necessarily mean a bad school. What happens within the walls of a school matters much more than how many iPads are inside.
[NATIONAL: PODCAST] Choosing a Good School for Your Kid. Highlighting the importance of providing choice and opportunity to parents, this podcast asks: What makes a good school? Is it test scores, school leadership, culture … how do parents choose a good school for their children?