[3/28] For Our Future: This Week's News & More

Friends & Colleagues -

As you may’ve noticed, I’ve adjusted the frequency of these updates to every other week to ensure I’m including only meaningful information and news. The readership of www.nmeducation.org continues to grow. Please continue to share the blog and these now biweekly updates. Here's this week's round up:

  • [LOCAL: NEWS] Now that the 60-day legislative session has concluded we find ourselves with time to catch our collective breath as we await word on the potential of a special session. With some conversation about shortening the school day to save money we see the continued need for our elected leaders to make decisions in the best interests of our students while also keeping in mind the long-term health of our state.
  • [LOCAL: ACTION] As shared previously, New Mexico’s state plan for ESSA (here's the eight-page executive summary), is open for public comment. Take 10-15 minutes to complete the survey and to speak up on behalf of our students. Now is not the time to look backwards. We must maintain a high bar of expectations for not only our students, but our schools, districts and teachers as well. Let’s improve policy where needed but with a constant eye towards what will best prepare our students for 21st century careers.
  • [NATIONAL: NEWS] Across the U.S. more there are more than 40 cities where charter schools serve more than 20% of local students. As we consider what the future growth of charter schools looks like in New Mexico, Neerav Kingsland lays out five roles cities can play: Implode, Compete Coordinate & Collaborate, Blur the Lines or Govern.
  • [NATIONAL: NEWS] High school graduation rates are on the rise across the U.S. and here in New Mexico as well. While on the surface this seems to be a positive development, a deeper look reveals that high school graduation increasingly does not equate to workforce or college readiness. In an increasingly knowledge-driven economy, the research is clear that most people (~80%) need a post-secondary education to land a decent job. While many states have lowered the criteria for high school graduation, New Mexico is seeing all-time highs in graduation rates, while still raising requirements. Though we continue to lag behind much of the nation, our growth is promising.

[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."