Episode 1143 | The Line: Dept. of Education Reading Retention Proposal Plans


>>WELCOME BACK TO THE LINE. POLITICAL HIT JOB OR
LEGISLATIVE END AROUND? THE ACCUSATIONS ARE FLYING
ONCE AGAIN THIS WEEK OVER WHAT TO DO ABOUT
NEW MEXICO’S READING PROFICIENCY PROBLEM. NOW, GOVERNOR MARTINEZ HAS
LONG PUSHED FOR LEGISLATION THAT WOULD REQUIRE STUDENTS
TO BE HELD BACK IF THEY AREN’T READING AT GRADE
LEVEL, BUT THE LEGISLATURE HAS ALWAYS BALKED AT THAT
IDEA. WELL, NOW THE DEPARTMENT OF
ED IS TRYING A DIFFERENT APPROACH, PROPOSING A RULE
CHANGE THAT CALLS FOR EARLY INTERVENTION TO HELP
CHILDREN THAT ARE STRUGGLING WITH READING, BUT IT WOULD
ALSO REQUIRE STUDENTS TO BE HELD BACK ‘IN SOME
SITUATIONS’ IF THEY DON’T SCORE WELL ENOUGH ON AN
END-OF-YEAR TEST. THE PLAN ISN’T SITTING WELL
WITH SOME MEMBERS OF THE LEGISLATIVE EDUCATION STUDY
COMMITTEE WHO THINK THE GOVERNOR AND PED ARE GOING
AROUND THE LEGISLATURE ON THIS PLAN. SOPHIE, LET’S START WITH
THAT FIRST BIT THERE, THE GOING AROUND BIT. TRUE? IS THAT AN ACCURATE
ACCUSATION FROM THE LEGISLATIVE FOLKS?>>OF COURSE IT IS. OF COURSE IT IS. THIS IS ESSENTIALLY THE
LEGISLATION THAT THE GOVERNOR HAS TRIED TO GET
THROUGH THE LEGISLATURE EVERY YEAR AND HAS FAILED. AND SO I THINK IT’S A
CREATIVE ATTEMPT BY THE PED, THE PUBLIC EDUCATION
DEPARTMENT, TO GET THIS PRIORITY THROUGH. I WILL SAY THAT I THINK IT
IS GOING TO END UP IN THE DELIGHTFULLY GEEKY AREA, AT
LEAST FOR ME, OF THE COURTS. AT SOME POINT, THIS ISSUE OF
WHETHER STATUE PRECLUDES USING THE RULEMAKING
PROCEDURE IN THIS WAY, THAT’S GOING TO GET SORTED
OUT.>>WHAT’S YOUR SENSE OF
THAT, BY THE WAY? I KNOW IT’S EARLY DAYS.>>I THINK, YOU KNOW, VERY
MUCH AS THE RECENT DECISION FROM THE SUPREME COURT OVER
WHETHER THE VETO POWER WAS USED CORRECTLY LAST YEAR, I
THINK IT’S GOING TO END UP BEFORE THE COURTS. IT’S HARD TO PREDICT EXACTLY
WHERE IT WILL GO. BUT I AM HEARING THAT THERE
IS SOME DISCUSSION THAT THERE MAY BE A LACK — I’M
NOT PUTTING THIS WELL. BUT I THINK THERE IS AN
ARGUMENT TO BE MADE ON BOTH SIDES, LET ME PUT IT THAT
WAY. SOME INTERESTING STUFF THAT
CAN COME THERE. BUT WHAT THE GOVERNOR GETS
IS THE ABILITY IN THE FUTURE TO SAY, WE MADE IT HAPPEN,
EVEN IF IT WAS THEN STOPPED BY THE COURTS.>>THAT’S RIGHT.>>ONE THING I’M GOING TO
EDITORIALIZE VERY BRIEFLY, NOT THAT IT’S NOT ALL AN
EDITORIAL FOR ME THIS EVENING, BUT AM I THE ONLY
ONE WHO IS TIRED OF STATE EMPLOYEES WORKING IN PUBLIC
INFORMATION, STATE PUBLIC RELATIONS FOLKS, USING THAT
PLATFORM TO SAY THINGS LIKE POLITICAL HIT JOB? I THINK YOU WORK FOR THE
STATE, I’D LIKE TO SEE SOMETHING MORE NUANCED. YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE
WORKING FOR THE PEOPLE, NOT FOR A PARTY.>>IT’S A REASONABLE
DISCUSSION. ON BOTH SIDES, IT’S
HAPPENING.>>THAT’S ALL I’VE GOT TO
SAY ABOUT THAT. I’M TIRED OF IT.>>IT WORKS OUT WELL. ANDY, IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT,
THE STATE, WHAT THEY’RE TRYING TO DO WITH PED IS
JUST SAY, LOOK, WE HAVE AN INTERVENTION PLAN, WE HAVE
DEVELOPMENT PLANS, WE HAVE ALL THESE PLANS TO HELP
STUDENTS, WHICH WAS REALLY KIND OF INTERESTING IN THE
LANGUAGE ONCE YOU READ THE WHOLE SITUATION, IT’S ALMOST
LIKE IT’S JUST ABOUT THE PARCC TEST. DID THEY MAKE A GOOD ENOUGH
CASE HERE? BECAUSE THE FOLKS WHO THINK
IT’S JUST ABOUT THE PARCC TEST, LIKE ALL THIS WORK
COMES DOWN TO YOUR EFFORTS, MEANING THE STUDENT, AT THE
END OF YEAR, THERE COULD BE OTHER FACTORS AT PLAY THERE.>>YEAH, I THINK — GOING
BACK TO KIND OF WHAT YOU TALKED TO SOPHIE ABOUT, THIS
COMES DOWN TO A BIG QUESTION OF WHAT IS SUPPOSED TO BE IN
STATUTE AND WHAT IS SUPPOSED TO BE IN THE RULEMAKING. I THINK PEOPLE ARGUE — BOTH
SIDES ARGUE BOTH SIDES DEPENDING ON WHAT IT IS. PEOPLE HAVE ARGUED THAT OUR
CURRENT SECRETARY OF STATE, MAGGIE TOULOUSE-OLIVER,
SHOULDN’T BE ABLE TO CHANGE THINGS IN RULES. THE SAME GOVERNOR ARGUED
THAT EXPANSION OF THE MEDICAL CANNABIS PROGRAM
SHOULD NOT BE IN STATUTE, IT SHOULD BE IN RULES. SO I THINK IT’S KIND OF AN
OPPORTUNISTIC TYPE THING, AND I DON’T THINK SHE’S
GOING TO BE — SHE’S NOT THE FIRST OR THE LAST PERSON TO
BE IN THIS SITUATION TO TRY TO SAY, WE’RE GOING TO PUSH
THIS THROUGH. I’M A LITTLE BIT SURPRISED
THAT THEY HAVEN’T TRIED TO DO THIS BEFORE.>>SOMEONE ELSE MENTIONED
THAT TO ME, TOO. IT SEEMS LIKE THREE YEARS
AGO, THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN TRIED, AND KIND OF KEEP
GOING AT IT, KEEP GOING AT IT. TOM, IN THE BROADEST SENSE,
AND I REALIZE YOU’VE GOT SOME STUFF WITH YOUR COMPANY
THAT IS INVOLVED WITH EDUCATION, SO WE WANT TO
TALK ABOUT THIS IN THE BROADEST SENSE, BUT I’VE
ALWAYS WONDERED WHY WE CAN’T HAVE THESE TWO CAMPS COME
TOGETHER, MEANING THE FOLKS IN THE MARTINEZ CAMP WHO
BELIEVE IN RETENTION AND BELIEVE IN TRACKING STUDENTS
ALL THE WAY THROUGH, AND THOSE THAT WANT MORE MONEY
FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION, THAT SOMEHOW WE
CAN’T SIT DOWN AND MASH THESE KIND OF THINGS
TOGETHER AND COME UP WITH A PLAN FOR NEW MEXICO, BECAUSE
THEY HAVE THEIR SIDE HERE. I MEAN, WHEN YOU’VE GOT THE
AMOUNT OF FAILURE WE HAVE AT READING GRADE LEVEL HERE,
IT’S HARD TO ARGUE WHERE THEY’RE COMING FROM HERE. AND FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF
IT, WE NEED SOME MORE HELP AT AN EARLIER AGE, DON’T WE?>>AND DAN McKAY WITH THE
ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL I THINK DID A REALLY SOLID PIECE
JUST KIND OF LAYING OUT THAT ISSUE AS FAR AS ALL THE
DIFFERENT INITIATIVES BEFORE THE LEFC. I THINK THOSE OPPORTUNITIES
PROVIDE ORGANIZATIONS A CHANCE TO COME TOGETHER AND
FIND THAT COMMON GROUND, AND I THINK THAT FINDING THAT
COMMON GROUND IN AN ERA WHERE YOU HAVE — YOU KNOW,
EITHER YOU’RE IN FAVOR OF ADMINISTRATION OR YOU’RE IN
FAVOR OF TEACHERS. THERE’S TOO MUCH DIVIDE, I
THINK, TO REALLY KIND OF MAKE MUCH OF A MEASURABLE
CHANGE, WHICH IS WHY I THINK WE SEE THE GOVERNOR USING A
PLAYBOOK THAT HAS BEEN USED BY PREVIOUS GOVERNORS, EVEN
PREVIOUS UNITED STATES PRESIDENTS TO MAKE RULE
CHANGES IF THEY CAN’T GET A PIECE OF LEGISLATION
THROUGH.>>THAT’S RIGHT. THAT’S EXACTLY RIGHT. CHRISTINE, WE’VE GOT THREE
OUT OF FOUR 4th GRADERS IN OUR STATE NOT READING AT
PROFICIENCY LEVEL. THEY CAN’T SIT THERE AND DO
NOTHING. CAN WE BLAME THESE PEOPLE
FOR TRYING TO FIND SOMETHING HERE?>>WELL, THERE ARE A LOT OF
INITIATIVES, AND PEOPLE ARE PERHAPS TALKING PAST EACH
OTHER, BUT THE PHILOSOPHICAL DIVISIONS AND PARTY
DIVISIONS ARE THAT WE HAVE A FIGHT OVER AUTHORITY AND
CONTROL, AND THE LEGISLATURE AND THE EXECUTIVE ARE IN
THIS BATTLE. BUT I WANT TO INTERJECT WHAT
A PRINCIPAL TOLD ME WOULD BE SITE-BASED MANAGEMENT AND
IMPLEMENTATION OF NEW PROGRAMS AND HOW TO MORE
EFFECTIVELY ADDRESS THE STUDENT BODY AT PARTICULAR
SCHOOLS. IT JUST SEEMS TO ME THAT
TEACHERS AND PRINCIPALS AND PARENTS KIND OF GET
SHORT-SHRIFTED, THEY GET LEFT OUT OF THIS EQUATION,
AND REALLY I THINK THAT TEACHERS ARE NOT SEEN, ARE
NOT EMBRACED AS THE EXPERTS THAT THEY ARE. SO I WOULD LIKE TO SEE THEM
ALSO FACTORED INTO THE EQUATION. LOOK AT WHAT WE’RE
WITNESSING NATIONALLY NOW. THESE PROTESTS AND THESE
STRIKES BY PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS WHO SAY, IT’S NOT
JUST OUR SALARIES, WE NEED MORE RESOURCES OVERALL TO DO
A NUMBER OF THINGS. AND I WOULD ADD THAT IN
TERMS OF FUNDING, LAST I CHECKED THAT LAWSUIT AGAINST
THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO WAGED BY THE
MEXICAN-AMERICAN LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATIONAL
FUND, AND NEW MEXICO’S LAW ON POVERTY —
>>CENTER ON LAW AND POVERTY.>>CENTER ON LAW AND
POVERTY, AMONGST SOME OTHER ORGANIZATIONS, ARE SAYING,
THIS IS A MAJOR LACK OF FUNDING, IT HAS PRECEDED THE
MARTINEZ ADMINISTRATION, SOMETHING MAJOR HAS GOT TO
CHANGE. AND SO THERE ARE A LOT OF
HIGHWAYS LEADING TO THIS MAYBE A ROUNDABOUT CIRCLE,
TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO INTERVENE. BUT I AGREE THAT THERE IS
SOME COMMON GROUND IN TERMS OF SAYING, HEY, WE NEED
INTERVENTION. IT’S A QUESTION OF ASKING
EXPERTS, HOWEVER YOU DEFINE IT. WE HAVE A UNM COLLEGE OF
EDUCATION THAT SHOULD BE WEIGHING IN MUCH MORE AT
LEAST OBVIOUSLY, WE DON’T SEE WHERE THAT IS. BUT WE’VE GOT EXPERTS IN
THIS STATE, INCLUDING THE TEACHERS, PRINCIPALS AND
PARENTS.>>THAT’S RIGHT. SOPHIE, ONE OF THE LITTLE
THINGS HERE THAT’S INTERESTING AND COULD BE
READ AS A COMPROMISE IS THE PARENTS COULD OPT TO NOT
AGREE TO HAVE THEIR STUDENT HELD BACK IF THEY’RE NOT
PERFORMING.>>FOR ONE YEAR.>>FOR ONE YEAR, EXACTLY
RIGHT. WHAT’S THE DANGER HERE? ANY LANDMINES THAT YOU SEE? BECAUSE A LOT OF PARENTS
WOULD JUST STRAIGHT UP OPT FOR THAT BECAUSE THEY’RE
AFRAID OF THE SOCIAL STIGMA. THEY WANT TO PROTECT THEIR
KID. THAT’S A DIFFICULT DECISION
FOR A PARENT.>>I THINK IT’S A GOOD
QUESTION. I’M NOT SURE, THOUGH, THAT
THAT OPTION OF KEEPING YOUR KID GOING IS — I’M NOT SURE
THAT THAT’S THAT BIG OF A DEAL. I THINK IT’S LIKE, AND I
HATE TO SAY IT, BUT I THINK LET’S GIVE SOMETHING TO THE
PARENTS IN THE HOPES THAT WE CAN KIND OF QUIET THAT
ARGUMENT THERE.>>BUT IN ITS PRACTICAL
APPLICATION, IT’S HARD FOR A FAMILY, BUT THAT’S A
DIFFICULT ONE, BECAUSE WHAT IF THEY CHOOSE NOT TO HAVE A
CHILD HELD BACK, IT’S STILL NOT WORKING, AND THEN YOU’VE
GOT A WHOLE OTHER THING THAT APS CAN DECIDE WHAT’S GOING
TO HAPPEN AT THAT POINT, AND THE PARENT IS SORT OF THE
EQUATION.>>WHAT YOU WOULD HOPE, AND
I WOULD EXPECT –>>AND NOT JUST APS, BUT
STATEWIDE.>>– MOST IF NOT ALL
PARENTS WOULD LOOK AT THE SITUATION WITH THEIR CHILD
AND SAY, YEAH, WE DO THINK THAT THERE IS INTERVENTION
THAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN HERE, AND THEN LOOK AT WHETHER
IT’S APPROPRIATE TO HOLD THE KID BACK TO TRY TO GET
ADDITIONAL HELP, WHICH MAY BE DIFFICULT WITHIN THE
SCHOOL SYSTEMS GIVEN THE RESOURCES THAT ARE THERE. I THINK HOLDING A KID BACK
IS ONLY ONE OF A NUMBER OF POSSIBILITIES, AND I THINK
ONE OF THE LONGSTANDING CONCERNS ABOUT THIS
PARTICULAR PROGRAM IS IF YOU HOLD A KID BACK, ESPECIALLY
IF YOU HOLD THEM BACK MULTIPLE TIMES, AND YOU’RE
NOT PROVIDING THE RESOURCES THAT WOULD ALLOW THEM TO
MOVE FORWARD, YOU’RE CREATING SITUATIONS IN WHICH
MUCH OLDER CHILDREN ARE IN A CLASSROOM WITH MUCH YOUNGER
CHILDREN, AND THAT CREATES NEGATIVE IMPACTS IN THE
LEARNING ENVIRONMENT IN THE CLASSROOM.>>THAT’S RIGHT. ONE OF THE GOALS — WE’RE
GOING TO WRAP THIS UP. BUT ONE OF THE GOALS IS ALSO
TO POTENTIALLY HOLD BACK 8th GRADERS, GUYS, AND
THAT’S A TRICKY ONE, LET ALONE 3rd GRADERS. NOW YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT
REAL SOCIAL STUFF AT THAT POINT, AND THE SCIENCE IS
SORT OF LOOSE ON WHETHER THAT ACTUALLY SENDS A KID
INTO A TAILSPIN THAT THEY NEVER REALLY RECOVER FROM,
OR ACTUALLY SETS THEM ON THE RIGHT TRACK FOR COLLEGE. SO THAT’S A TRICKY ONE, THAT
8th GRADE LEVEL THERE. THAT’S A TOUGH ONE. HAVE TO WRAP THAT UP. THE DEPARTMENT OF ED, BY THE
WAY, WILL HOLD A PUBLIC HEARING ON THIS PROPOSED
READING RETENTION RULE CHANGES ON THE MORNING OF
MAY 17th. FOR MORE INFORMATION, JUST
HEAD TO OUR WEBSITE AT NewMexicoInFocus.org.

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