For Immediate Release
Friday, July 13, 2012
T.C. Wilson, AFT New Mexico, 505-414-9047
Kristin Johansson, ATF Organizer, 505-567-0530
Teachers Notify U.S. Department of Education of State’s Failure to Comply with NCLB Waiver
ALBUQUERQUE – In a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, AFT New Mexico, the Albuquerque Teachers Federation, and the Albuquerque Education Assistants Association have notified the federal government of the Public Education Department’s failure to consult parents and teachers in drafting a new teacher evaluation plan as part of a waiver to the No Child Left Behind Act.
Despite the U.S. Department of Education’s requirement that PED consult with teacher representatives in implementing the waiver, PED refused to appoint an AFT New Mexico representative nominated by AFT New Mexico to a teaching task force that is advising PED.PED also failed to appoint parent and school board representatives to the task force. Despite PED’s promise to comply with state law in implementing the waiver, the task force met at least twice without public notice, which is required under New Mexico’s Open Meetings Act.
PED’s proposed rule change that will double down on the state’s failed “teach to the test” education policy by linking teacher evaluation to test scores. The plan incorporates the flawed “value-added model,” in spite of broad agreement among statisticians, psychometricians, and economists that even the most sophisticated value-added measures are not reliable or valid for teacher evaluation. AFT New Mexico supports an alternative plan that will improve teaching.
“Educators are the experts on education. It is obvious that the Public Education Department is not interested in working with educators, parents, or experts to write a plan that will actually improve our schools,” said Stephanie Ly, president of AFT New Mexico, which represents 23,000 education professionals. “This is a rule written behind closed doors by an unelected bureaucrat who never taught in the public schools, in New Mexico or elsewhere. Placing more pressure on educators to teach to bad tests will not improve education. Our kids deserve better.”
“The task force is working hard, but PED was never truly interested in its knowledge and input,” said Ellen Bernstein, president of ATF, which represents 7,000 educators. “This was a sham process with a pre-ordained result. PED should go back to the drawing board and work with teachers and parents to devise a proven plan that will actually make a positive difference.”
Thousands of teachers, educational assistants, secretaries, parents, students, and community members will protest the Public Education Department’s proposed rule on Wednesday, July 18, while PED holds a public hearing as part of the rulemaking process. The protest will occur outside the hearing at the Jerry Apodaca Education Building in Santa Fe.