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How can New Mexico help its students?

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_absolutely_free_photos_original_photos_happy-kid-in-class-5184x3456_29015Education in New Mexico has gone from bad to worse. Teachers and, more importantly, students are suffering from bad decisions made at the state level by the Governor and her Secretary of Education, a non educator, cheered on by administrators at the school district level who fear retaliation if they stand up to the system. Teachers, in turn, fear from certain retribution (i.e. loss of job through inexplicably bad evaluations or being blackballed), if they hold their ground. The sweet children just do what they are told and suffer through overtesting and curriculum taught in a lockstep, one size fits all manner, while administrators claim that the “data driven instruction” will help students achieve higher levels. No, but it certainly wipes out individual initiative, creativity, and a love of learning. Oh, but the students do become better test takers!

Senator Tom Udall asked for my support for early childhood education on Facebook. Below is my response:
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  1. I wish that people would realize that it not an easy job or that there are no easy answers. Education is so important.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. This post hit me on my soapbox. Ask ANY teacher – they all hate being forced to “teach to the test.” LOUSY idea from a metric-obsessed biz-focused bunch of education-ignorant administrative/legislative types. And it’s not just the students in the school system of NM who are suffering as a result.

    If the GOAL were to downgrade the quality of American education, they would do little different.

    I personally believe that NO ONE who has not spent at least a year attempting to teach in an over-crowded PUBLIC school classroom has any business ringing in on this issue at the legislative level. They need to involve the teachers in an official capacity, give them “tenure” of a sort to protect their jobs – and *listen* to them.

    Even then, no classroom has exactly the same needs as any other, so attempting to legislate “teacher rules” will always be an ineffective way to go about it.

    Unfortunately, the recently installed Secretary of Education is likely to make things worse, not better. Even if it turns out she is well-intended, she is totally unqualified and unlikely even to be able to understand the implications of the issues until she back-fills her education knowledge – unlikely, since she didn’t even bother to cram for her own confirmation hearing. Shameful appointment, in my opinion.

    Good for you for being willing to speak up on FB, and I agree with everything you wrote. I pray that it makes a difference and that the American public will stop dumbing down as public education actually – and finally – improves.
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    Liked by 2 people

    • lghiggins says:

      Thanks for your insightful comments. I am in agreement with all your points. What is currently happening in education does appear to be a deliberate effort to ruin it so that private businesses can take over and make a profit off of our children. Disgraceful. And sadly our new Secretary of Education spent a long time in Jeb Bush’s camp, which is heavily involved in that endeavor. Could public education be improved? Of course, absolutely! Will creating schools that won’t service our neediest children help? Will treating teachers like robots at best and trash at worst help? Will forming children into minions of the rich help? No, to all of these, but the desired results will be achieved–a disregard for those students with special needs, an exodus of good teachers from the profession, and an easily manipulated group of voters.

      Liked by 3 people

      • It is a complex situation where one domino knocks over the next. This is not the country it claims to be anymore – and it looks like it will be going downhill rapidly unless those of us who care about the welfare of ALL find some way to stop what’s happening. And yet, so many are still saying “wait and see, give him a chance,” if not supporting outright in a sad display of confirmation bias and the avoidance of cognitive dissonance.

        It is especially upsetting that their henchman was voted in only through the actions of the outdated and gerrymander-rigged Electoral College.

        You have written my thoughts. As daunting as they are, my fears are worse than yours, and it is not a pretty picture. I don’t know how the neurodiverse and Mental Health community – the population I support – will manage at all when the programs that have insured their welfare and educational rights are removed, as threatened.

        How can the party in power believe that America can possibly maintain world preeminence when the leadership is corrupt and the populace has been dumbed down? I fear that if this administration’s initiatives are pushed through, only those born rich, major league ball players – and those who are willing to do *anything* to become wealthy – will have much of a chance to fashion lives that aren’t characterized by ongoing economic struggle.

        Without education, competing with each other to be trapped in minimum wage jobs, America is likely to become a mean and sickly country, with the poorest dying in record numbers without access even to pain medication, since few will be able to afford health insurance if all recent advances are reversed or rolled back.

        IF, that is, we don’t erupt into civil war once Marshall Law has been declared, supposedly to contain the growing number of protesters.

        God help us all.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. lghiggins says:

    Unfortunately, what you are talking about is not new. Both sides voted in NCLB. The corruption, lobbying, and pushing the agenda of the rich has been with us through administrations of both flavors. Your fears have been mine as I watched anxiously over several decades. I am willing to give the new president a chance, but I am very unhappy with his educational choice. I am, however, very happy with his appointment for HUD. I respect Ben Carson very much and am hopeful that his intelligence and compassion will bring powerful change to the generational poverty and the crime that has enslaved the residents of our inner cities. Yes. God, please help us all.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Joëlle says:

    Education is a key element in any country, yours as well as mine. It should be considered an investment for the future rather than a load on the budget.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. driftyness says:

    Love that you’re addressing what goes on in the classroom & outside of it. I’m a fan of taking a holistic approach to things and I completely agree that enabling kids to be ready to learn before they step foot in the classroom for the day is important.

    Liked by 2 people

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