Friends & Colleagues -
I have a specific request this week: Please send this email/post to three of your colleagues and encourage them to sign-up for updates or to message me directly so I may add them to the subscriber list. Think of anyone you know who is interested in education and might find these updates and musings funny, interesting or annoying. All are welcome! Here's this week's roundup:
- [LOCAL: NEWS] In what can only be described as befuddling and detrimental to parents and students, Rio Rancho Public Schools (RRPS) continues to fight the growth of New Mexico's top-rated high school, the Albuquerque Institute of Math & Science (AIMS). Four years ago AIMS sought expansion to a campus at UNM West in Rio Rancho but was sued by RRPS, halting that growth. Last week a NM District Court judge ruled that expansion was indeed lawful. Despite this ruling, and the fact this expansion would provide more parents a high-quality school option, RRPS has announced they may appeal this decision. All this at a time where budgets are tight and RRPS has been especially vocal with their displeasure about that reality. Yet somehow there is plenty of money to prevent more students and families from having another school option to choose from. Let's call this what it is: a turf war and entrenched district doing anything it can to protect its monopoly.
- [LOCAL: NEWS] A recent report has New Mexico ranked last in the nation for high school graduation. While we've certainly made progress over the past five years, we have so much hard work yet to do with a national graduation average of 82.3% and The Land of Enchantment coming in at 69% as of 2015. Although New Mexico has raised graduation requirements while many others states have lowered them, we still need about 4,000 more low-income students graduating per year to get to 90%. And with a workforce and world increasingly reliant on not only high school graduation but college graduation as well, we must ensure our students graduate high school ready for college and career.
- [NATIONAL: ANALYSIS] Former Delaware Governor Jack Markell penned a clear-eyed take on the necessity of summative assessments such as PARCC and his view on the need for us to do more to consolidate and streamline testing from school- to district- to state-level:
There is no single fix to our education challenges, but if we are to address persistent achievement gaps, we need to understand how all students are performing academically — whether they are on track to be ready for the next grade and what we can do to help them get there. Annual assessments are a core component of state accountability systems and an important tool for parents, teachers, schools, state chiefs, and governors to enact the kind of change schools need.
- [NATIONAL: REPORT] Last week I visited with a wonderful and powerful community advocacy group named A+ Colorado. They are intently focused on ensuring the voices and interests of everyday Coloradans are heard and acted upon by education decision makers across the state. Today they released a report titled "Start With The Facts: Denver Public Schools 2017" which acknowledges the growth of Denver Public Schools while also highlighting that only 1 in 3 third graders read on grade-level and the daunting gaps in education achievement by race and socio-economic status remain daunting. These are precisely the kind of reports I will be publishing once the statewide advocacy organization I'm working on is officially launched in early 2018.