[11/21] For Our Future: This Week's Education News & More

Friends & Colleagues -

In this relatively light news period I have updates on APS's budget, the state of early childhood in New Mexico, and two national stories related to teacher equity and emerging insights into Millennials' views on education. As always, your feedback and shares are greatly appreciated. Here's this week's roundup:

  • [LOCAL: NEWS] APS Budget Gets Boost. After some belt tightening this spring and summer, in anticipation of an overall reduction in state revenue, APS is putting nearly $7 million back into the 2017-18 budget. Buoyed by an anticipated bounce in oil and gas revenue, the extra money will be included in what's nearly a $1.4 billion annual budget. I'd like to see ALL that extra dough go straight to instructional support where teachers and students will benefit most.
  • [LOCAL: NEWS] More New Mexican Students Need Pre-K. Coinciding with nearly sixty years of research indicating that high quality early-childhood education has long lasting effects on children, the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee issued a report finding that many of our kindergartners come to school already below grade level. The report also found that "New Mexico students – especially from low-income families – tend to change schools often, which contributes to low test scores." This echoes a recent ECE report from the AERA which finds "access to early-childhood education significantly reduces students’ chances of being placed in special education or held back in school and increases their prospects of graduating high school."
  • [NATIONAL: RESEARCH] States' Receive Equity Grades For ESSA Plans. The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ)'s issued analysis of states' plans for ensuring that low-income and minority students are not disproportionately taught by ineffective, out-of-field, or inexperienced teachers under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Each state-specific analysis recognizes notable "strengths," or areas where a state's work is laudable, as well as "opportunities," or areas where improvement is necessary to meet the spirit and letter of the ESSA's educator equity requirements. New Mexico receives high marks for overall equity with a suggestion for us to redefine "inexperienced teacher" as a teacher who has taught two years or less, instead of the current definition of three years.
  • [NATIONAL: RESEARCH] Millennials Bring New Beliefs Into Public Education. Research firm Echelon Insights published a fascinating report on the views of Millennials regarding education. Long maligned for perceived narcissism and their rejection of traditional structures, at 75 million strong Millennials are now the biggest generation in the U.S. (and world), and beginning to reach positions of authority and power - with the oldest members about to turn 40.

    So whether you love us or hate us, Millennials are on the cusp of leading many more schools, districts, state departments, and elected offices. Thus, this report is a sneak preview of things to come over the next 30 years or so. I highly suggest you read the 20-page report. Here are some quick tidbits:

         - 68% of Millennials identify “having access to a quality education” as one of the most important factors to ensure someone has the opportunity to succeed
         - The most important factors to a "quality public school" are: (1) teacher creativity, (2) teacher flexibility, and (3) a positive and safe school culture
         - 74% of millennials think “schools today need big changes in order to create opportunity for students"
         - 65% of millennials think that being a public school teacher is more difficult “than it was twenty or thirty years ago"
         - 67% of millennials in rural areas support alternative pathways to teaching, saying it should be possible to teach without an education degree