[3/14] For Our Future: This Week's Education News & More

Friends & Colleagues - 

In the spirit of iterating and innovating, I've renamed the weekly update to "For Our Future: This Week's Education News & More". The weekly post/newsletter will also come out on Tuesday's instead of Friday's as I had several readers provide helpful feedback. Please keep that input coming, both positive and critical.

The focus remains the same: a short list of education news and what I'm working on, reading, listening to, debating or wondering, with an emphasis on applying non-education field ideas and paradigms onto education, particularly here in New Mexico. And here's this week's round up:

  • [LOCAL] Two keys pieces of education legislation have moved forward in the Capitol:
    • SJM01 which calls for a working group to study alternative student assessment models aligned with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) has cleared the Senate and passed House Education. Now to the House floor. My call on this is we'll need to keep tabs on the study, with an eye towards equity and maintaining high academic standards for all our students.
    • HJR01, which I wrote about here, has cleared the House and sits in the Senate. As I wrote before, more money in and of itself won't have lasting, positive impact on Early Childhood Education in New Mexico. We must ensure we spend current and additional funds in impactful and research-backed ways. I don't see that yet with HJR01.
  • [LOCAL] With NMPED recently announcing our state plan for ESSA (here's the eight-page executive summary), the corresponding survey for public comment has gone live. I'll be writing more about our ESSA plan in the coming week. In the meantime check out these two stakeholder reports on what New Mexican's want from our plan from New Mexico First and Learning Alliance New Mexico. What's clear from both reports is New Mexican's want to better prepare our students for the modern economy and support the teachers and schools already doing this hard, necessary work.
  • [NATIONAL] Last week, by a one vote margin, the U.S. Senate struck down the strongest accountability rules in ESSA. One of the ironies here is that of the 40 removed ESSA rules, about half of those provided states more flexibility around things such as student achievement goals, data collection/reporting and interventions for struggling schools. Ensuring our state ESSA plan remains focused on students and best practices now falls to us as local advocates and citizens.
  • [NATIONAL] The NYTimes reports on the crucial though often neglected role of school principals in discussions about public education: "Tom Boasberg, Denver’s superintendent, puts it this way: 'Your ability to attract and keep good teachers and your ability to develop good teachers, in an unbelievably challenging and complex profession, is so dependent on your principals.' Most other knowledge-based professions, he added, pay more attention to grooming leaders than education does."