For Immediate Release August 15, 2013
EDUCATORS ASK SECRETARY-DESIGNEE SKANDERA TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE OPPORTUNITY CREATED BY UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND DELAY HIGH-STAKES TESTING IN ORDER TO FULLY AND CORRECTLY IMPLEMENT THE COMMON CORE STANDARDS
Today, AFT NM and NEA NM delivered a letter to PED Secretary-Designee Hanna Skandera asking to give schools an opportunity to fully and correctly implement the Common Core Standards before the PED attaches high-stakes to related standardized test results for kids, schools and teachers.
The Common Core Standards are national benchmarks for student learning for K-12 . Using the Common Core Standards, school districts, schools and teachers, create curriculum and lesson plans to help students develop skills that they will need for success in the 21st century. Teaching to the Common Core Standards requires teachers to plan outside the box, work collaboratively with other practitioners to create interdisciplinary lesson plans and encourage peer learning and group participation. Educators strongly support the Common Core Standards.
New Mexico has been implementing Common Core Standards in some grades for the past year but this is the first year they will be used in all classrooms. The U.S. Department of Education recently decided states implementing the Common Core Standards would be allowed to alter their NCLB waivers in order to have an extra year before tying teachers’ evaluations to student test scores. Educators are asking Secretary-Designee Skandera to seize this opportunity.
The U.S. Department of Education has stated that requests for extensions will be granted. These extensions are specifically aimed at states like New Mexico that are simultaneously trying to implement the Common Core Standards and complex teacher evaluation system tied to standardized test scores.
In many school districts, professional development and collaboration around the Common Core Standards is taking a back seat as districts, principals and educators grapple with understanding the new teacher evaluation tool and prepare students for taking tests. No one wants to teach to the test, but schools cannot help but be concerned about their letter grades and teachers about losing their jobs. Under the new educator evaluation system, up to 50% of teachers’ evaluations will be based on their students’ standardized test scores or school grades (which are calculated based on test scores).
Last legislative session, educators worked with the New Mexico legislature to pass an evaluation system that aligned with the complete implementation of the Common Core Standards but it was vetoed by the Governor.
Clink link to view letter letter_august_14.pdf
Contact: Mai Syed, AFT NM, 505-280-1057 or Charles Goodmacher, NEA NM, 505-450-3155