Episode 1119 | The Line: Public Education Department Announces Changes In Assessments


>>WE ARE BACK HERE AT THE
LINE. AN ARTICLE WRITTEN BY SANTA FE
REPORTER, MATT GRUBBS, FIRST BROUGHT TO OUR ATTENTION,
CHANGES IN END OF COURSE ASSESSMENT TEST AT HIGH SCHOOL
LEVEL. EXAM BLUEPRINTS PUT OUT BY NEW
MEXICO PUBLIC EDUCATION DEPARTMENT OMIT SOME
CONTROVERSIAL HISTORY AND HEALTH QUESTIONS. THE ARTICLE POINTS OUT THAT
CERTAIN ITEMS LEFT OFF THE 2017 TO 2018 ASSESSMENT TESTS
INCLUDE QUESTIONS ON ROSA PARKS AND MALCOLM X, THE ROWE
VERSUS WADE CASE AND THE DEMISE OF SLAVERY AS PART OF
THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION. ASSESSMENTS IN HEALTH CLASSES
HAVE DELETED REFERENCES TO NUTRITION, HEALTHY FOOD
CHOICES AND ALCOHOL ABUSE. AND FURTHER NEWS COVERAGE PED
SECRETARY DESIGNATE CHRISTOPHER ASSERTS THAT THOSE
SUBJECTS HAVE NOT BEEN OMITTED FROM STANDARD REQUIRED TO BE
TAUGHT IN THE CLASSROOM, BUT WITH THE END OF COURSE EXAMS
MAKING UP 35% OF TEACHERS EVALUATIONS, YOU CAN IMAGINE,
FEAR IS THAT TEACHERS WILL EMPHASIZE WHAT IS ON THE TEST
AND DEEMPHASIZE WHAT IS NOT. SENATOR BOITANO. END UP CALLING YOU MARK. IS THAT ACCURATE IN YOUR HAND? THAT AS TEACHERS WILL
NATURALLY DO WHAT IS TO THE TEST, AS THEY SAY, AND ALL
THESE OTHER OMISSIONS WILL JUST WASH OUT, BECAUSE THE
SECRETARY DESIGNATE SAYS TEACHER CAN HAVE THE CHOICE TO
DO THIS IF THEY WANT TO, BUT HUMAN NATURE BEING WHAT IT IS. WHAT IS YOUR THOUGHT?>>IT IS A GOOD QUESTION AND I
AM ACTUALLY THE BOARD CHAIRMAN OF AN 1800 STUDENT CHARTER
SCHOOL AND WE HAVE BEEN DEALING WITH THIS FOR SEVERAL
MONTHS. AND, HONESTLY, THERE IS A LOT
OF CONFUSION ABOUT THIS ISSUE BECAUSE ON THE ONE HAND WE
HAVE GOT STANDARDS AND BENCHMARKS THAT ARE ACTUALLY
VERY RIGOROUS. AND THE SCIENCE DISCUSSION WAS
AROUND SCIENCE STANDARDS AND BENCHMARKS. WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT NOW
IS TESTING BENCHMARKS. WHAT DO WE WANT TO HAVE ON THE
TEST AND THE REALITY IS WE CAN’T TEST EVERYTHING. SO, WE HAVE TO LIMIT WHAT WE
ARE PUTTING ON THE TEST. ONE OF THE PROBLEMS IN PUBLIC
ED RIGHT NOW IS REALLY EVALUATING THE STUDENTS. AND THERE IS A 34 PAGE
DOCUMENT THAT TALKS ABOUT THE FORMULAS THAT GO INTO
QUESTIONS LIKE SCHOOL GROWTH, PROFICIENCY. IT IS VERY COMPLEX AND WHAT WE
HAVE HEARD FROM TEACHERS IS WE HAVE TO MAKE THE TESTS AND
WHOLE PROCESS MORE SIMPLE. SO, THAT IS THE GOAL OF
CHANGING THE STANDARDS FOR TESTING. WE’RE NOT CHANGING THE
STANDARDS FOR CORE SUBJECT AREAS. THEY ARE RIGOROUS AND STRONG. SO TEACHERS THEY BUILD THEIR
CURRICULUM AROUND STANDARD AND BENCHMARKS AND CAN’T TEST
EVERYTHING. SO THEY LIMITED WHAT IS BEING
TESTED IN RESPONSE TO WHAT WE HAVE HEARD FROM TEACHERS.>>TO BE FAIR THE SECRETARY
DESIGNATE, LAURA, HE HAS SAID SOME YEARS THOSE QUESTIONS MAY
BE THERE AND SOME YEARS THEY MAY NOT. DOESN’T MEAN THEY ARE GONE. THIS IS NOT — IT IS ABOUT
PRIORITIES AND CHOICES. WHEN YOU HEAR THE LISTING OF
ROWE4 VERSUS WADE, MALCOLM X, ROSA PARKS, THE NATURAL
REACTION IS HOW CAN YOU LEAVE THAT OFF? I DON’T CARE WHAT THE
PRIORITIES ARE, THERE ARE CERTAIN THINGS THAT MUST BE A
PART OF AMERICAN HISTORY. IS THAT A FAIR ASSESSMENT? SOMETIMES THERE IS JUST NOT
ROOM FOR IT AND THAT IS OKAY?>>I WOULD PROBABLY AGREE THAT
WE CAN’T TEST EVERYTHING BUT I THINK BY IDENTIFYING CERTAIN
ITEMS THAT WILL NOT BE TESTED, IT IS VERY CLEAR THAT THE
ADMINISTRATION IS SIGNALING WHAT THE PRIORITY IS NOT AND I
THINK IT IS A WHITE WASHING OF HISTORY. TO NOT HAVE FIGURES LIKE
MALCOLM X AND ROSA PARKS SAYS SOMETHING SIGNIFICANT ABOUT
OUR CIVIL RIGHTS ERA IN THIS COUNTRY AND WHAT WE ARE
EXPECTING STUDENTS TO UNDERSTAND AND LEAVE SCHOOL
WITH AN UNDERSTANDING ABOUT. I PERSONALLY DON’T REMEMBER
EVER TALKING ABOUT ROWE VERSUS WADE UNTIL I GOT OUT OF HIGH
SCHOOL. I MEAN, I DON’T EVER REMEMBER
THE SPECIFIC DECISION AND THE FACT THAT IT WAS, YOU KNOW, A
CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUE, A PRIVACY ISSUE. I DON’T THINK I EVER FULLY
UNDERSTOOD UNTIL I WAS IN COLLEGE AND, OF COURSE, LAW
SCHOOL. BUT THERE IS OTHER THINGS THAT
ARE BASIC THAT SHOULD BE A PARTS OF IT. SLAVERY AND INDUSTRIAL
REVOLUTION AND THAT IS A HUGE ASPECT OF OUR U.S. HISTORY
THAT SHOULD BE BASICALLY UNDERSTOOD.>>LET ME SPLIT THREE MINUTES
BETWEEN YOU. PICK UP ON WHAT LAURA SAID. IS THERE A WAY TO PRIORITIZE
THINGS THAT KEEPS EVERYBODY HAPPY? IS THERE A POSSIBILITY TO DO
THIS?>>WELL, I MEAN, YOU COULD PUT
THREE YEARS OF TESTS OUT. YOU COULD DEMONSTRATE, NOT
TELL THIS ADMINISTRATION WHAT TO DO BUT PERHAPS I AM. YOU COULD DEMONSTRATE THAT
ROWE V. WADE, THE BOMBING OF JAPAN, THESE SUBJECTS WILL
COME BACK WITHIN THE NEXT TWO YEARS. THAT WOULD CERTAINLY GO A LONG
WAY, I THINK, TOWARD REASSURING PEOPLE THAT IT WILL
COME BACK. NOW, THERE IS STILL GOING TO
BE A YEAR OF STUDENTS FOR WHOM THOSE TOPICS MAY BE MINIMIZED. I DO THINK IT IS NATURAL. IN THE EDUCATIONAL PROCESS WE
HEAR ABOUT INFORMATION, READ ABOUT INFORMATION, TESTING TO
HELP REINFORCE IT AND FURTHER TESTING, BUT THAT TESTING WE
TEND TO TALK ABOUT IT IN TERMS OF, YOU KNOW, JUST SORT OF DID
YOU GET IT? BUT THE OTHER PART OF IT IS,
THE STUDY THAT YOU DO TO GET READY FOR THAT TEST HELPS TO
REINFORCE, TO SOLIDIFY IT IN YOUR MIND AND WE ARE SAYING WE
DON’T NEED YOU TO REINFORCE ROWE V. WADE OR ROSA PARKS. AND COMING FROM AN
ADMINISTRATION, PARTICULARLY FROM THE PUBLIC EDUCATION
DEPARTMENT THAT IS JUST BEEN THROUGH, WE DON’T APPARENTLY
REALLY NEED EVOLUTION. WE DON’T APPARENTLY REALLY
NEED CLIMATE CHANGE. THERE IS DEBATE OVER WHETHER
THE WORLD IS 6,000 YEARS OLD OR LONGER. THERE IS NOT A LOT OF TRUST
THERE RIGHT NOW. IT DOES SEEM VERY POLITICALLY
MOTIVATED.>>JUST VERY BRIEFLY, YOU
KNOW, YIELD THE REST OF THE BALANCE OF MY TIME TO SOPHIE. WHEN YOU LOOK AT AN ISSUE AS
VOLATILE AS THIS, AS IMPORTANT AS THIS, I THINK THE BEST WAY
TO ADDRESS IT IS HEAD ON AND TO NOT ANSWER REPORTER’S
QUESTIONS. BASICALLY, TRY TO STIFLE THE
DISCUSSION. THAT IS THE BEST APPROACH.>>IT’S A TOUGH SPOT FOR THE
SECRETARY AND EVERYBODY ELSE. I THINK YOU CAN SEE WHAT THEY
ARE TRYING TO GET AT HERE BUT JUST SO CLUNKY AND SOMETHING
HAS TO BE FIGURED OUT. THAT IS ALL THE TIME WE HAVE
FOR THIS WEEK. APPRECIATE IT. SEE YOU NEXT TIME.>>I AM GENE GRANT. THANKS FOR JOINING US FOR NEW
MEXICO INFOCUS AND WE APPRECIATE YOUR TIME AND
EFFORTS TO STAY INFORMED AND ENGAGED. SEE YOU NEXT WEEK INFOCUS. FUNDING FOR INFOCUS PROVIDED
BY THE MCCUNE CHARITABLE FOUNDATION, AND THE NEEPER
NATURAL HISTORY PROGRAMMING FUND FOR KNME-TV. AND VIEWERS LIKE YOU.

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