Friends & Colleagues -
This week I bring both saddening and maddening news from Albuquerque as well as instructive new research on what it actually means when we hear of recent "teacher shortages." I also share the latest U.S. public high school rankings and a helpful podcast about the forthcoming clarity coming to school finances.
I've taken the liberty of adding every email list recipient directly to the MailChimp listserv so you'll automatically receive an email anytime a new post is created. If you'd like to be removed simply click "Unsubscribe" near the bottom of the email or send an email to email@example.com. Please continue to share the blog and these biweekly updates. Here's this week's round up:
- [LOCAL: NEWS] With APS cutting both middle school sports and the much needed K-3 Plus program from 10 schools, we have to wonder how the district's $1.3 billion budget is being spent? Times are tough across the state and we're all figuring out how to tighten our belts. After rolling over nearly $8 million in Title I dollars and with $81 million in cash reserves, why is APS eliminating crucial services provided to the very kids we need to be our future community and business leaders?
- [NATIONAL: RESEARCH] While national news reports of teacher shortages have surged as of late, Stanford's Tom Dee and the University of Washington's Dan Goldhaber have issued a recent report with a more nuanced view: “... these challenges appear to be concentrated in specific high-need subjects such as special education and STEM ... and in hard-to-staff schools.” As with most of our hardest to solve problems, we benefit from getting into the weeds on the issue and as specific as possible in developing solutions.
- [NATIONAL: NEWS] The 2017 national public high school rankings from U.S. News and World Report are out. Here's what I found notable:
- For the first time ever, a majority of the top ten high schools are public charter schools;
- There's something special happening in Arizona with half of the top ten (and seven of the top 25) schools based next-door to New Mexico;
- BASIS.ed, a public charter school network, runs the top three high schools in the nation and five of the top seven;
- New Mexico doesn't have a school in the top 100, 200 or 300. The Albuquerque Institute of Math and Science (AIMS) is our top-rated public high school and ranks as #314 nationally; and
- Of the 37 New Mexico schools ranked in 2017, two earned gold medals, five earned silver and 30 received bronze medals.
- [NATIONAL: PODCAST] For all the undue focus we put on the inputs of education (training,, finances, facilities, etc.) we rarely get a clear picture of how dollars are spent at the school-level. Well, that's about to change thanks to a sleeper provision in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) which requires state education agencies to report exactly what districts spend on each of their schools. Marguerite Roza, a research professor at Georgetown University and director of its Edunomics Lab, talks about this change which she wrote about in a recent post on the EdNext blog entitled “With New Data, School Finance is Coming out of the Dark Ages.”