Thank you to those of you who attended the NMCEL/CES Symposium in October. Sue Gendron provided timely information on the new online assessments aligned with the Common Core Standards. Based on the questions and the level of discussion during the symposium, it was obvious that this is a “hot” topic and one that still needs further discussion. Please see a related article about the Symposium elsewhere in the newsletter.
Another current “hot” topic is high school graduation. Superintendents are expressing concern about the number of students who may not be eligible to receive a high school diploma because of their inability to pass the SBA. While the option of taking End of Course exams is available, many students may have taken the required courses two and three years ago; before EoCs were required or available as options. In addition, some of these students have already been accepted to college, have acquired several dual credit credits, are participating in work-related internships, etc. , all of which should count as demonstrations of competency, thus allowing students to receive a diploma. A work group made up of representatives from several districts is in the process of identifying those options which might serve as demonstrations of competency and will be presenting those options at a later time.
A current concern is one which hits closely at the heart of every citizen of this country—that of free speech and the right to disagree with those in authority without fear of reprisal or threat. Lately, it appears that one district, in particular, will not be allowed to express their views or raise concerns without being publicly chastised. Recently, fliers were sent out to households in the Albuquerque area basically denigrating the APS district and their superintendent. If this can happen to one district, it can certainly happen to any district or organization who dares voice their opposition to any mandated initiative. This is an outrage to all of us and one more attack on our public schools and their leaders. Let your parents and legislators know that such actions are unacceptable, not just to school communities, but to citizens in general. Both sides of any issue should be heard, and when a growing number of teachers and administrators are concerned about any issue, then at the very least they should be able to say so. No one should feel threatened or fearful of expressing their concerns especially when a plan or an initiative has the potential of affecting a large number of people in any community.
Best wishes for a bountiful Thanksgiving holiday.
Gloria O. Rendón
NMCEL Executive Director
At our summer conference the NMCEL Board elected a new President, Crit Caton, Superintendent from Artesia. Erik Bose, APS Principal was elected Vice President.
Another summer is officially in the books. Welcome to the 2013-2014 school year. We know many of you attended in-service trainings over the past few months, and we truly appreciate those who were able to attend the “New Mexico Coalition of Educational Leaders” (NMCEL) summer conference. Hopefully, many of you were able to glean some valuable information that will assist you in the coming year. Along with our new “brand”, we are excited about the changes taking place within our organization and are looking forward to serving New Mexico’s leaders.
As educators, we were fortunate this year to see a $144 increase in the unit value and a 1% increase in funding to all public education employees statewide. These increases were greatly appreciated and a welcome sight for those who haven’t received a raise in the past five years. Nevertheless, with the rise in funding has come a rise in accountability, and there are still many challenges that educators will face over the next year — Implementation of Common Core State Standards, End of Course Exams, PARCC Assessments, and the New Teacher/Principal Evaluation System. In the face of these changes, we are amazed at the steadfast resolve our leaders possess.
It is an honor for me to serve as President of this organization and to assist our amazing NMCEL staff in “Keeping Kids First”. If you have suggestions, concerns, or need clarification on any educational issues, please let us know. We look forward to serving you and extend best wishes for a successful and fulfilling school year!
Crit D. Caton, Ed.D.