Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski on Department of Education


>>NEW MEXICO EDUCATION
SECRETARY DESIGNATE, CHRISTOPHER RUSZKOWSKI, THANKS
FOR COMING IN. 12 APPRECIATE IT. GOT A NUMBER OF QUESTIONS
HERE. WE’LL JUST GO RIGHT INTO IT. YOU STEPPED INTO THIS ROLE IN
2017 FOLLOWING SKANDERA AND I AM JUST CURIOUS HOW YOU
DESCRIBE THE OUTCOMES OF THE EDUCATION PRIORITIES UNDER THE
GOVERNOR THAT SHE SET FORWARD. WHAT IS YOUR SENSE OF HOW
THOSE ARE MOVING FORWARD?>>I THINK WHAT IS MOST
IMPORTANT TO THINK ABOUT IS WHERE WE WERE IN THE 50 YEARS
BEFORE. IT WASN’T EXACTLY LIKE NEW
MEXICO WAS ON AN UPWARD TRAJECTORY. A LOT OF THINGS NEEDED TO
CHANGE. WE KEPT GROWING FROM A ONE
BILLION DOLLAR SYSTEM TO A TWO BILLION DOLLAR SYSTEM TO A
THREE. THERE WASN’T A LOT OF
ACCOUNTABILITY IN THE SYSTEM. THERE WASN’T A LOT OF
TRANSPARENCY FOR PARENTS AND FAMILY IN THAT SYSTEM, FOR THE
CONSUMER, FOR THE POLICYMAKER. WHEN YOU LOOK AT WHAT HAS
HAPPENED OVER THE LAST FIVE YEARS, WE HAVE MORE KIDS
READING, MORE KIDS DOING MATH, A SYSTEM THAT WORKS IN TERMS
OF TRANSPARENCY FOR SCHOOL PERFORMANCE, TEACHER
PERFORMANCE. AGAIN, FOR THE 50 YEARS BEFORE
NM TEACH, IT WAS, HEY, EVERYONE IS DOING A GREAT JOB.
AND NOW WE HAVE A SYSTEM IN PLACE AND YOU KNOW WHAT,
EVERYONE IS DOING A DIFFERENT JOB AND WE NEED TO HELP PEOPLE
GROW. WE HAVE BEEN MORE HONEST ABOUT
OUR SYSTEMS, MORE HONEST ABOUT OUR STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT DATA 13
AND NOW WE HAVE PROGRESS TO BUILD ON. NO ONE SHOULD BE HAPPY WITH
THAT PROGRESS. NO ONE SHOULD BE SAYING, YOU
KNOW WHAT, WE ARE CONTENT. WE ARE NOT. WE SHOULD STILL BE HUNGRY AND
WANT MORE FOR OUR KIDS, BUT WE HAVE PROGRESS TO BUILD UPON
AND I THINK THE REASON WE HAVE THAT IS BECAUSE WE GOT VERY
HONEST ABOUT HOW WE WERE DOING, HOW OUR SCHOOLS ARE
DOING, HOW KIDS ARE DOING AND HOW TEACHERS ARE DOING.>>FAIR ENOUGH. I’M CURIOUS ABOUT YOUR
PERSPECTIVE. I’ INTERESTED IN YOUR
BACKGROUND. YOU MUST HAVE BROUGHT
SOMETHING TO THE SITUATION YOURSELF WHEN YOU CAME IN
FOLLOWING MS. SKANDERA. WHAT DID YOU PERSONALLY SEE
FOR THE EDUCATION SYSTEM HERE? WHAT MADE YOU ATTRACTED TO
THIS JOB, TO TAKE THIS ON?>>WE CAME TO THE SAME, BOTH
SECRETARY AT THE TIME, THE GOVERNOR AND I CAME TO THE
SAME CONCLUSIONS FROM DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES. I AM THE SON OF A CHICAGO
DEMOCRAT, FAMILY OF CHICAGO DEMOCRATS. MY FATHER AND MY MOTHER, GREEK
AND POLISH IMMIGRANTS IN CHICAGO, WORKING CLASS BLUE
COLLAR FOLKS, ORIENTED WITH A LOT OF, IF YOU WILL, UNION
MOVEMENTS, LABOR MOVEMENTS, WORKING CLASS ETHNIC
NEIGHBORHOODS OF CHICAGO. AND I CAME TO THE WORK FROM
THE PERSPECTIVE OF MORE OF A CIVIL RIGHTS PERSPECTIVE. I CERTAINLY BELIEVE THAT OUR
EDUCATION SYSTEM IS ABOUT OUR 14 GLOBAL AND ECONOMIC
COMPETITIVENESS BUT I ALSO CAME TO IT FROM THE
PERSPECTIVE OF EVERY CHILD NO MATTER ZIP CODE, NO MATTER
THEIR BACKGROUND, PROTECTIONS NEED TO BE IN PLACE TO BE SURE
THAT HAPPENS. I SPENT SIX YEARS BEFORE I GOT
HERE WORKING FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA FOR HIS RACE TO THE TOP
INITIATIVE AND SECRETARY DUNCAN, ALSO CHICAGO
DEMOCRATS, AND FOR GOVERNOR MARKELL AND WHAT I FOUND IN
COMING HERE WAS NEW MEXICO IS DOING A LOT OF THE SAME THINGS
UNDER REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR SUSANA MARTINEZ, WHO I AM
INCREDIBLY PROUD TO WORK FOR AND PUT KIDS FIRST IN EVERY
PRE K TO 12 DECISION. BUT WE WERE DOING SOME OF THE
SAME THINGS, ALMOST ACTUALLY EXACTLY THE SAME THINGS
IN DELAWARE UNDER A DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR, JACK MARKELL, THAT
WERE HAPPENING HERE UNDER A REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR, SUSANA
MARTINEZ. THAT WAS INCREDIBLY APPEALING
FOR ME. THIS IS ABOUT GOOD IDEAS. THIS IS ABOUT THE BEST IDEAS. THIS IS ABOUT MAKING SURE THAT
WE HAVE DATED INFORMATION ON EVERY SINGLE KID AND THEIR
PROGRESS. IT IS NOT ABOUT PARTISANSHIP. IT IS A BIPARTISAN, IF NOT
NONPARTISAN, ISSUE. UNFORTUNATELY A LOT OF THE
IDEAS WE HAVE TAKEN OUT HERE, A LOT OF THE PROGRAMS, SOME
HAVE COME FROM THE RIGHT OVER THE LAST TWO DECADES, SOME
HAVE COME FROM THE LEFT OVER THE LAST TWO DECADES. WE HAVE TO GET MORE
COMFORTABLE WITH THAT AS WE 15 TALK ABOUT THESE ISSUES HERE
IN NEW MEXICO.>>A STATE JUDGE RULED IN JULY
NEW MEXICO IS NOT MEETING THE STANDARDS FOR EDUCATION — THE
CONSTITUTIONAL OBLIGATION RATHER FOR EDUCATING KIDS
HERE. I AM CURIOUS WHAT YOUR
RESPONSE TO THAT RULING WOULD BE. WHAT WAS YOUR IMMEDIATE
RESPONSE TO THAT?>>I THINK FIRST AND FOREMOST,
THE GOVERNOR AND PUBLIC EDUCATION DEPARTMENT HAD NOT
BEEN SHY ABOUT ADVOCATING FOR MORE MONEY. IN FACT, THIS PAST YEAR, WE
ADVOCATED FOR OVER 100 MILLION MORE. OVER THE PAST 8 YEARS,
450 MILLION-DOLLARS MORE, ALMOST HALF A BILLION. WE ARE NOW A THREE BILLION
DOLLAR SYSTEM. AND SOME FOLKS ARE SAYING WE
SHOULD BE FOUR BILLION DOLLAR SYSTEM. AND I CERTAINLY UNDERSTAND
WHERE THEY COME FROM AND TIME AFTER TIME I HAVE SAID, YOU
KNOW WHAT, THERE IS A WORLD IN WHICH WE NEED MORE MONEY FOR
THIS, MORE MONEY FOR THAT. BUT IT HAS TO BE TARGETED. IT HAS TO BE BASED UPON WHAT
WORKS. IT HAS TO BE EVIDENCE BASED. IT HAS TO BE SOMETHING THAT WE
CAN MEASURE THE OUTCOME AND PROGRESS OF.>>YOU DISAGREE WITH THE
RULING?>>THERE ARE PROBLEMS WITH THE
RULING AROUND THE CAUSALITY OF MORE MONEY IS GOING TO EQUAL
BETTER OUTCOMES. THERE IS PROBLEMS WITH THAT,
FOR TWO REASONS. 16
ONE, SOME OF THE SAME FOLKS ADVOCATING FOR MORE MONEY, ARE
ADVOCATING FOR DISMANTLING OF THE ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEMS IN
PLACE. THAT IS HYPOCRISY AT IT WORST. YOU CAN’T SAY YOU NEED MORE
RESOURCES BUT LET’S DISMANTLE THE VERY MEASURES THAT THE
JUDGE IS USING TO BASELINE OUR PROGRESS. YOU CAN’T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS IN
THAT REGARD. AND, SECOND, AS I HAVE GONE
OUT AND TALKED TO SUPERINTENDENTS AND CHARTER
SCHOOL LEADERS, I SAY, LISTEN, IF I GIVE YOU 100 MORE MILLION
TOMORROW, WILL YOU GUARANTEE THAT STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT AND
OUTCOMES WILL GO UP? AND NOT A SINGLE HAND GETS
RAISED. BECAUSE, IT IS MORE COMPLEX
THAN THAT. THERE IS A SERIES —
>>IS THAT THE RIGHT QUESTION?>>I THINK IT IS —
>>LET ME ASK YOU THIS, IF YOU WOULD ASK THEM IF I GIVE YOU
THIS MONEY, YOU HAVE AUTONOMY, MORE CONTROL ABOUT HOW THIS
MONEY GETS USED, I BET A LOT MORE HANDS WOULD GO UP.>>TWO THINGS. ONE, IT IS POLICIES,
PRACTICES, MIND SETS AND RESOURCES. IT IS ALL THOSE THINGS. THAT IS THE REASON WHY YOU
HAVE A DISTRICT LIKE GADSTON ON THE RISE EVEN THOUGH IT
SERVES MORE THAN 90% OF KIDS FROM LOW INCOME COMMUNITIES
AND YOU HAVE OTHER DISTRICTS WITH OTHER DEMOGRAPHICS THAT
ARE NOT MAKING THAT KIND OF PROGRESS, EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE
BOTH RECEIVING THE SAME AMOUNT OF MONEY. 17
IT IS ALSO TRUE THAT DISTRICTS AND SCHOOLS MAKE A SERIES OF
DECISIONS ABOUT THEIR MIND SET TOWARDS OUR CHILDREN, ABOUT
THE POLICIES AND PRACTICES THEY ENACT. YOU LOOK AT A PROGRAM WE HAVE
IN PLACE LIKE PRINCIPALS PURSUING EXCELLENCE, SCHOOL
TURN-AROUND PROGRAM. WE SERVED OVER 200 SCHOOLS,
MOSTLY KIDS FROM LOW INCOME COMMUNITIES, HISPANIC, NATIVE
AMERICAN BACKGROUND AND LOOK AT THE PROGRESS THAT A
DISTRICT LIKE GALLUP SCHOOL DISTRICTS HAS MADE OVER THE
LAST FIVE YEARS. SO, IF EVERYONE ACKNOWLEDGES
THAT IT IS MORE COMPLICATED THAN JUST RESOURCES ALONE, IT
IS ABOUT HOW WE TARGET AND USE THEM. THEN ON TOP OF THAT, IT IS
WORTH NOTING THAT WHAT THE JUDGE HAS CALLED FOR IN HER
OPINION ISN’T MORE AUTONOMY, IT IS ACTUALLY MORE PED
OVERSIGHT. IT IS ACTUALLY, IN SOME WAYS,
THE END OF LOCAL CONTROL IF THE JUDGE’S RULING WERE TO
STAND AS IS.>>THAT IS MORE COMPLICATED. ARE YOU GOING TO APPEAL THE
RULING? THERE WAS THOUGHTS YOU WERE
GOING TO. IS THAT HAPPENING?>>THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO
PLANS TO APPEAL THE RULINGS. WHEN I SAY THAT, I THINK BOTH
BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT SAY, HEY, THERE IS A REAL PROBLEM
HERE WITH JUDICIARY LEGISLATING FROM THE BENCH ON
SOMETHING WE THINK WE HAVE MADE A LOT OF PROGRESS ON OVER
THE LAST EIGHT YEARS, INCLUDING 450 MILLION-DOLLARS 18
MORE, BUT WHAT I AM MOST CONCERNED ABOUT, AND KIND OF
COMES BACK TO MY BACKGROUND AND WHAT I SHARED A MINUTE
AGO, IS THE FOLKS THAT ARE ADVOCATING FOR MORE RESOURCES
BUT SIMULTANEOUSLY ADVOCATING FOR THE DISMANTLING OF THE
VERY SYSTEMS THEY ARE CITING. WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT THE
NATIONAL RANKING, THAT IS BASED ON A TEST, THE NAPE
EXAM. WE HAVE NAPE 2019 COMING UP. THAT IS THE EXAM THAT OUR
FOURTH AND EIGHTH GRADERS TAKE TO DETERMINE OUR NATIONAL
RANKING. THAT IS AN ASSESSMENT. LET’S NOT GET IN THIS MIND SET
WHERE ASSESSMENTS DON’T MATTER. THEY ARE WHAT TELLS US HOW
EVERY KID IS DOING. THAT IS MY CHALLENGE AROUND
SOME OF THE RHETORIC, IF YOU WILL.>>GOT YOU. PART OF THAT RHETORIC, I WOULD
ALSO ADD IS, OR I SHOULD PUT IT THIS WAY. ARE YOU TAKING STEPS TO
ADDRESS SOME OF THOSE THOUGHTS THAT WERE IN THE RULING,
MEANING, IF THE APPEAL IS NOT SUCCESSFUL, YOU HAVE TO BE
PRESSING ON REGARDLESS? ARE YOU STARTING TO DO THOSE
THINGS NOW?>>ABSOLUTELY. WE HAVE BEEN DOING THOSE
THINGS OVER THE PAST COUPLE OF YEARS. LET’S TAKE SOMETHING LIKE
TECHNOLOGY, ACCESS TO IT, ESSENTIAL IN THE 21ST CENTURY
FOR ALL KIDS, BIPARTISAN ISSUE, EVERYONE SAYS WHETHER A
KID IS IN ZUNI, RIO RANCHO OR GALLUP, THEY SHOULD HAVE FULL 19
ACCESS TO BROADBAND AND IT. WE HAVE BEEN WORKING FOR THE
PAST THREE YEARS. WE LAID FIBER OUT IN RESERVE
AND MESCALERO. WE ARE WORKING WITH THE ZUNI
SCHOOL DISTRICT. WE HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO
GET TO 100% BROADBAND FOR EDUCATION. IT IS SOMETHING THE GOVERNOR
HAS CHAMPIONED AND THEN YOU GET TO THE BROADBAND AND YOU
HAVE TO MAKE SURE EVERY KID HAS ONE MEG PER SECOND. THAT IS A BIPARTISAN ISSUE. THAT IS SOMETHING WE ARE GOING
TO CONTINUE TO EMBARK ON. AND I IMAGINE SOMETHING THE
NEXT ADMINISTRATION WILL CONTINUE TO EMBARK UPON TO
MAKE SURE THAT EVERY SINGLE SCHOOL HAS ACCESS TO THE
INTERNET AND WIFI. THAT IS PART OF THE JUDGE’S
RULING. WORTH NOTING THAT 99% OF THE
STUDENTS TOOK THE PARCC EXAM THIS YEAR ONLINE. SO WE HAVE MADE PROGRESS. JUST THREE YEARS AGO THAT WAS
89%. SO WE ARE MAKING PROGRESS. THAT IS AN EXAMPLE OF
SOMETHING THERE IS ALREADY MOMENTUM. THE JUDGE TOUCHED ON IT, BUT
IN SOME WAYS –>>DO YOU FEEL CONFIDENT TO
MEET HER GOALS AS LAID OUT IN THE RULING THAT BY NEXT SPRING
YOU FEEL CONFIDENT WE CAN GET THERE?>>IN TERMS OF INCREASING
ACCESS, ABSOLUTELY. I MEAN, WHAT I AM SAYING IS,
IF YOU TALK TO THE LEGISLATURE, THEY WOULD SAY,
CERTAIN LEGISLATORS WOULD SAY, YOU KNOW WHAT, WE HAVE BEEN ON 20
TRACK. WE HAVE INCREASED PUBLIC
EDUCATION FUNDING BY 450 MILLION INCLUDING ACROSS
THE BOARD TEACHER PAY RAISE. LET’S KEEP DOING IT. I HAVE HEARD YOU TALK ABOUT ON
THE SHOW, THE 1.2 BILLION-DOLLARS. SO THERE ARE GOING TO BE
DECISIONS MADE TO INVEST IN OUR STUDENTS. I THINK WHAT IS NOTABLE ABOUT
THE JUDGE’S RULING IS HER FOCUS ON TWO THINGS. ONE, THE DOLLARS NEED TO GO TO
THE STUDENTS THAT NEED IT THE MOST. WE HAVE BEEN DOING THAT
THROUGH OUR AP FEE WAIVERS, THROUGH OUR SCHOOL TURN-AROUND
PROGRAMS AND PRE-K EXPANSION AND SHE IS ALSO MAKING AN
ARGUMENT THAT THE PED NEEDS TO BE MORE ENGAGED, NOT LESS
ENGAGED. LET’S PUT THAT IN THE CONTEXT
OF SOMETHING LIKE LOS PADILLAS, HAWTHORNE AND
WHITTIER, THREE SCHOOLS HERE IN ALBUQUERQUE THAT WE HAVE
IDENTIFIED. I THINK THE JUDGE WOULD HAVE
TO BE VERY COMFORTABLE WITH THE DEGREE OF PED INTERVENTION
INTO THOSE SCHOOLS AND SAYING, LOOK, HERE ARE KIDS, AT RISK
STUDENTS. THEY NEED ADDITIONAL
RESOURCES, ADDITIONAL OVERSIGHT, ADDITIONAL
MONITORING FROM THE PED, BUT THEN, AGAIN, I THINK FOR ME
SOME OF THE HYPOCRISY AROUND THIS IS THAT SOME OF THOSE
VERY SAME FOLKS ARE THE ONES SAYING, WELL, LET’S DISMANTLE
ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEMS BUT PLEASE, GIVE US TWO MILLION
MORE PER SCHOOL. 21
I THINK THAT IS WHERE THE PROBLEM IS AND I THINK IF THE
JUDGE AND WE CAN ALL COME TOGETHER AND SAY, LOOK, WE
HAVE TO HAVE MEANINGFUL WAYS TO MEASURE STUDENT OUTCOMES. I HEARD A DISCUSSION A COUPLE
WEEKS BEFORE ON THE PARCC ASSESSMENT HERE ON THE LINE,
AND WE HAVE TO HAVE MEANINGFUL WAYS TO MEASURE OUTCOMES AND
WE NEED MORE RESOURCES. BUT THAT IS SORT OF THE SCHOOL
OF THOUGHT THAT I COME FROM. MORE RESOURCES MORE RIGOR,
MORE ACCOUNTABILITY. NOT MORE RESOURCES, LESS
ACCOUNTABILITY. I THINK THAT IS A RECIPE FOR
DISASTER FOR OUR CHILDREN, PARTICULARLY OUR MOST
VULNERABLE CHILDREN.>>TEACHER ASSESSMENTS HAS
BEEN A BIG ISSUE FOR EIGHT YEARS NOW. THAT IS FOR SURE. CURIOUS IN YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT
HOW TEACHER ASSESSMENTS IN NEW MEXICO, THE SYSTEM WE HAVE IN
PLACE, IS IT WORKING? TEACHER ASSESSMENTS OR COULD
SOMETHING BE IMPROVED.>>SO, ABSOLUTELY. WE HAVE OUR LIST AT THE PUBLIC
EDUCATION DEPARTMENT. I SPENT LAST NIGHT IN LAS
VEGAS WITH 50 TEACHERS. THE NIGHT BEFORE IN SANTA FE,
ROSWELL NEXT WEEK WITH ANOTHER 100. WE ARE TRAVELING THE STATE
CONSTANTLY MAKING OUR LIST, OKAY, THESE ARE THE 12 THINGS,
THESE ARE THE SIX THINGS. WE HAVE OUR LIST. HOW DO WE IMPROVE THE SYSTEMS
IN PLACE. NM TEACH IS ONE OF THOSE
SYSTEMS THAT WE JUST RELEASED OUR FIFTH EVER AGGREGATE 22
RESULTS, YESTERDAY. WE JUST REWARDED OUR FIRST
EVER TEACHER WITH EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING AWARD FOR HER
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE, A $10,000 AWARD, TEACHES IS IN
VERY HIGH NEED SCHOOL RIGHT HERE IN THE HEART OF
ALBUQUERQUE, MISSION ACHIEVEMENT AND SUCCESS
CHARTER SCHOOL. SO, WE HAVE EVOLVED. BUT I THINK MORE IMPORTANTLY,
AGAIN, HERE, WHERE WERE WE THE 50 YEARS BEFORE? WHERE WERE WE 50 YEARS BEFORE
IN TERMS OF THE THING THAT WE KNOW MATTERS MOST FOR OUR
KIDS, PARTICULARLY OUR KIDS FROM LOW INCOME COMMUNITIES,
IS TEACHER QUALITY. IF WE TURN OUR BACK ON THE
IDEA THAT THERE IS A DIFFERENCE IN TEACHER
PERFORMANCE, THEN WE ARE TURNING OUR BACK ON THE MOST
FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH ABOUT PUBLIC EDUCATION IN-SCHOOL FACTORS. IN TERMS OF IN-SCHOOL FACTORS
NOTHING MATTERS MORE THAN TEACHER QUALITY. THE TRUTH IS THERE IS A BIG
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A TEACHER LIKE MS. VAN DYKE, WHO WE
CELEBRATED YESTERDAY, WHO ACHIEVES TWO YEARS OF LEARNING
IN A SINGLE YEAR AND ANOTHER TEACHER THAT ACHIEVES A SINGLE
YEAR OF LEARNING IN A SINGLE YEAR. NM TEACH OVER THE LAST FIVE
YEARS, THE TEACHER EVALUATION SYSTEM THAT WE ARE REFERRING
TO, HAS BEEN A HARD CULTURE CHANGE. NO ONE IS DENYING THAT. IT HAS BEEN AN INCREDIBLY HARD
CULTURE CHANGE, BUT IN THE 50 YEARS BEFORE NM TEACH, IT WAS
EVERYONE GETS A HIGH 5, GOOD 23 JOB, SEE YOU NEXT YEAR,
WITHOUT ANY SERIOUS CONVERSATION ABOUT THE REAL
DIFFERENCES IN TEACHER PERFORMANCE THAT ANY TEACHER
WILL TELL YOU DEFINITELY EXISTS.>>MOST TEACHERS I KNOW DON’T
MIND BEING ASSESSED. IT IS THE HOW THAT IS
PROBLEMATIC. WE HAVE TEACHERS IN THE
STUDIO, HONESTLY, WHO SAY THEY ARE STRUGGLING TO MEET THE
NEEDS OF STUDENTS WHO ARE STRUGGLING WITH MANY OF THOSE
ACADEMIC CHALLENGES WE ARE TALKING ABOUT. HOW, CONSIDERING THE FULL
SCOPE OF WHAT IS HAPPENING IN SCHOOLS, I UNDERSTAND YOU’RE
DOING THE TOURS, LISTENING TOURS AND ALL THAT, BUT
DETERMINING WHICH ASSESSMENTS WILL ACTUALLY WORK, IS THAT A
WORK IN PROGRESS? IS THAT SOMETHING THE NEXT
ADMINISTRATION HAS TO PICK UP AND CONTINUE WITH. HOW DOES ONE WRESTLE THIS TO
THE GROUND COMPLETELY?>>IT IS A GREAT QUESTION. FIRST OFF LET ME SAY, I THINK
IT IS A BOTH AND PROPOSITION NOT EITHER OR. THAT HAS BEEN MY SORT OF
GENERAL OVERALL THINKING. FIRST OF ALL, OUR KIDS COME TO
SCHOOL WITH OTHER NEEDS, WHETHER IT IS POVERTY,
HEALTHCARE. WE HAVE TO SUPPORT OUR KIDS IN
TERMS OF THEIR MENTAL HEALTH, IN TERMS OF FOOD AND
NUTRITION. WE JUST ANNOUNCED A BIG FARM
TO SCHOOL PROGRAM SO THAT KIDS ARE EATING HEALTHIER DURING
THE DAY. IN TERMS OF SCHOOL SAFETY, YOU 24
HAVE TO DO THOSE THINGS, TOO. NOT EITHER OR PROPOSITION. THIS IS A BOTH AND
PROPOSITION. SAME THING WITH ASSESSMENTS. WE HAVE TO KNOW HOW KIDS ARE
DOING IN READING AND MATH. LET’S NOT FORGET THAT IS
FOUNDATIONAL. A LOT OF FOLKS I HAVE HEARD
SOME GUESTS ON YOUR SHOW EVEN SKIP OVER THAT TO THE 21ST
CENTURY SKILLS AROUND CREATIVITY, CRITICAL THINKING. THOSE ARE ESSENTIAL SKILLS FOR
THE GLOBAL ECONOMY THAT OUR KIDS ARE GOING TO ENTER INTO,
BUT CERTAINLY FOURTH, FIFTH, SIXTH GRADE READING AND MATH
ARE A GATEWAY TO GETTING THERE. IT IS NOT AN EITHER OR, IT IS
A BOTH AND. WE HAVE TO HAVE AND DO HAVE
ONE OF THE HIGHEST QUALITY ASSESSMENTS IN THE COUNTRY. THE PARCC ASSESSMENT IS
INDISPUTABLY ONE OF THE HIGHEST QUALITY ASSESSMENTS IN
THE COUNTRY. DOESN’T MEAN IT IS PERFECT. DOESN’T MEAN IT CAN’T BE
BETTER. WE JUST REDUCED THE AMOUNT OF
TESTING TIME BY 15 DAYS OVER THE LAST TWO YEARS. TO BE RESPONSIVE TO SOME OF
THIS FEEDBACK. IT DOESN’T MEAN WE DON’T KEEP
LOOKING FOR NEW WAYS TO ASSESS OUR KIDS SKILLS. RIGHT NOW WE’RE INVESTING IN
CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION ASSESSMENTS. WHETHER IT BE WELDING OR
CRIMINOLOGY OR FORENSIC SCIENCE, BUT, AGAIN, IT IS
BOTH AND NOT EITHER OR. UNFORTUNATELY IN PARTISAN
POLITICS, IT OFTEN GETS FRAMED 25 AS AN EITHER OR. YOU’RE EITHER FOR
ACCOUNTABILITY FOR TEACHERS OR YOU’RE FOR SUPPORT. WHY CAN’T YOU BE FOR BOTH? I HAVE HEARD YOU SAY THIS
PERTAINS TO EARLY LITERACY. YOU’RE EITHER FOR RETENTION OR
YOU’RE FOR SUPPORT AND FUNDING IN PRE-K.
WHY CAN’T YOU BE FOR BOTH? I CERTAINLY COME AT THIS WITH
SOMEONE WHO IS FOR BOTH.>>IS ADMINISTRATION IN LOCK
STEP WITH THAT? WE ARE COMING TO AN END HERE. HAS THAT BEEN SOMETHING YOU
CAN GET ACROSS TO OTHERS IN THE ADMINISTRATION?>>I THINK THAT WHEN GOVERNOR
MARTINEZ PASSED ME THE KEYS TO THE TORCH, I THINK THAT WAS A
CLEAR SIGNAL THAT WE ARE GOING TO BRIDGE IN DIFFERENT WAYS. WE ARE GOING TO STAY TRUE TO
WHAT WE KNOW WORKS, STAY TRUE TO HONESTY. I MEAN WHAT FOLKS HAVE
STRUGGLED WITH IS THE HONESTY PIECE AROUND, YOU KNOW WHAT,
THERE ARE SCHOOLS THAT ARE FAILING. THERE ARE TEACHERS THAT ARE
INEFFECTIVE. THERE ARE STUDENTS THAT STILL
CAN’T READ. THERE IS AN HONESTY ELEMENT TO
THIS, ALMOST LIKE THE FIRST STEP IS CONFRONTING THAT YOU
HAVE A PROBLEM AND THEN YOU HAVE TO GET PROGRESS FROM THAT
UNDERSTANDING. I THINK WHEN GOVERNOR MARTINEZ
SAID TO ME, HEY LOOK, I WANT YOU TO TAKE ON THIS JOB, SHE
WAS VERY CLEAR. I MEAN, I SPENT TIME WORKING
FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA AND SECRETARY DUNCAN AND GOVERNOR
MARKELL FOR SIX YEARS BEFORE I 26 CAME TO NEW MEXICO. I THINK THERE WAS CLEARLY
AWARENESS THAT THIS HAS TO BE ABOUT TEACHER VOICE, ABOUT
PRINCIPAL VOICE, ABOUT PARENT AND FAMILY VOICE. THAT IT IS ABOUT GLOBAL
COMPETITIVENESS BUT ALSO ABOUT JUSTICE FOR ALL KIDS NO MATTER
THEIR BACKGROUND AND I THINK, AGAIN, THE PROBLEM IS THE
FALSE DICHOTOMIES. I HEAR IT EVERYWHERE I GO, THE
FALSE DICHOTOMIES. THEY ARE FALSE DICHOTOMIES. IT IS A BOTH AND PROPOSITION
ALMOST NEVER EITHER OR.>>IT IS A POLITICAL STATE. I AM SURE YOU DISCOVERED IT IN
THREE YEARS HERE.>>YES, SIR.>>THERE ARE WAYS — I AM JUST
CURIOUS LOOKING BACK, NOT A LONG TALE HERE OF THREE YEARS,
BUT LOOKING BACK, COULD THERE HAVE BEEN A DIFFERENT APPROACH
BY YOU WITH THE ADMINISTRATION TO BRIDGE SOME OF THOSE
POLITICAL GAPS FROM THE DIFFERENT SIDES OF THE AISLE? SOMETHING THAT COULD HAVE BEEN
DONE BETTER ALONG THE WAY. IT SEEMS WE STARTED AT
LOGGERHEADS AND IT SPLIT AND WE NEVER REALLY INCHED BACK
TOWARDS EACH OTHER.>>I THINK YOU ALWAYS LOOK
BACK AND SAY THERE ARE THINGS WE COULD HAVE DONE BETTER AND
CERTAINLY PARTNERSHIP. I LIKE TO SAY I THINK IT IS A
BIPARTISAN, NONPARTISAN ISSUE. CERTAINLY, YOU ALWAYS LOOK
BACK AND SAY WE SHOULD HAVE PARTNERED WITH TEACHERS MORE,
WITH PRINCIPALS MORE. I SPENT THE LAST YEAR VISITING
80 SCHOOL DISTRICTS OVER 200 SCHOOLS, YOU KNOW, SPENDING
MORE TIME IN THE FIELD 27 LISTENING TO THE VOICES OF
REAL TEACHERS, REAL PARENTS, REAL FAMILIES ON THE GROUND. BUT I ALSO THINK THAT
UNFORTUNATELY, IN EDUCATION, THIS IS NOT JUST A NEW MEXICO
THING. THIS IS TRUE AROUND THE
COUNTRY. UNFORTUNATELY, FOR THE PAST 50
YEARS, IT HAS BEEN TWO OR THREE PEOPLE DOMINATING THE
DIALOGUE, YOU KNOW, AT THE GRASS TOPS, RIGHT. GRASS TOPS ACTORS WHO
REPRESENT POWER. WHO REPRESENT SPECIAL
INTERESTS, JUST LIKE IN ANY OTHER FIELD. AND, UNFORTUNATELY, THOSE
ACTORS HAVE OFTEN BEEN THE ONES TO DOMINATE THE DIALOGUE
FOR MANY DECADES. AND THE FACT THERE HAS BEEN
GOVERNORS AROUND THE COUNTRY, SOME DEMOCRAT, SOME
REPUBLICANS, I PUT PRESIDENT OBAMA ON THIS LIST AS WELL,
WILLING TO CHALLENGE THAT STATUS QUO IN THE WAY THAT
GOVERNOR MARTINEZ HAS OVER THE LAST EIGHT YEARS, THAT HAS
BEEN ABOUT PUTTING STUDENTS FIRST. LOOK BACK. WHAT OTHER INTERESTS WAS
DRIVING IT, RIGHT?>>MORE THE IMPLEMENTATION, I
THINK, MORE THAN THE GOAL, I THINK PROBABLY THE ISSUE FOR
FOLKS WHEN THEY LOOK BACK AS WELL. LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT TWO
THINGS. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE
SANTA FE SCHOOL SYSTEM IN YOUR OFFICE AND THE ALBUQUERQUE
PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM IN YOUR OFFICE, THINGS HAVE NOT QUITE
GELLED THERE FOR SOME REASON. 28
WHAT IS YOUR SENSE OF IT? SANTA FE FIRST AND ALBUQUERQUE
SECOND.>>I THINK I SAY THIS ALL THE
TIME WHEN I AM OUT TALKING TO TEACHERS. THE PERSON IN MY JOB, THE
PUBLIC EDUCATION DEPARTMENT, THE PUBLIC EDUCATION
DEPARTMENT PROVIDES SUPPORT, SUPPLIES RESOURCES, SUPPLIES
FUNDING, SUPPLIES PROGRAMS AND SUPPLIES ACCOUNTABILITY. WE ARE THE ACCOUNTABILITY
ENTITY, IF YOU WILL, OF THE STATE. AND THAT MEANS TRANSPARENCY
ABOUT PERFORMANCE. THAT MEANS BEING SUPER PUBLIC
AND SUPER OPEN AS A WAY TO ENGAGE MORE PEOPLE IN THE
DEMOCRATIC PROCESS. YOU LOOK AT THE HB98,
ELECTIONS BILL AROUND MOVING SCHOOL BOARD ELECTIONS TO A
TIME WHERE PEOPLE ACTUALLY VOTE THAT SENATOR SOTO
CHAMPIONED. THIS IS ABOUT TRANSPARENCY AND
ACTUALLY PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT IN A DIFFERENT WAY THAN WE HAVE
EVER SEEN BEFORE IN OUR PUBLIC EDUCATION SYSTEM. THAT STARTS WITH PED BEING
TRANSPARENT AND HONEST ABOUT PERFORMANCE. WHEN I SAY THAT SANTA FE
PUBLIC SCHOOLS IS 56% D’S AND F’S AND A SCHOOL DISTRICT LIKE
GADSTON IS ONLY 21% D’S AND F’S, THE PUBLIC DESERVES TO
KNOW THAT. GENERAL PUBLIC DESERVES TO THE
KNOW THAT. THAT IS NOT A WAY — WHEN I
SAY THREE SCHOOLS IN ALBUQUERQUE HAVE EARNED — IN
FACT, TWO ARE THE ONLY SCHOOLS IN THE ENTIRE STATE, HAWTHORN
AND WHITTIER TO EARN SIX STEPS 29 IF A ROW. THE PUBLIC DESERVES TO KNOW
THAT. THAT IS AS MUCH OF A PUBLIC
TRANSPARENCY ISSUE AS A CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUE FOR THE CHILDREN,
USUALLY CHILDREN OF COLOR, CHILDREN FROM LOW INCOME
COMMUNITIES THAT ARE IN THOSE SCHOOLS THAT HAVE BEEN
UNDERSERVED FOR AN ENTIRE GENERATION. TO ME THAT ACTUALLY SHOULD BE
A CORE PRINCIPLE OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, FIGHTING FOR
THOSE KIDS IN THOSE PLACES, BOTH IN TERMS OF RESOURCES AND
IN TERMS OF ACCOUNTABILITY, AGAIN, BACK TO THE FALSE
DICHOTOMIES AGAIN. CAN WE PARTNER BETTER? I CERTAINLY REACHED OUT TO THE
SUPERINTENDENT OF APS. WE HAVE HAD SEVERAL MEETINGS
AND SEVERAL DISCUSSIONS, YEAH, BUT IT IS ALSO MY JOB, MY DUTY
TO SAY WHEN THINGS ARE NOT GOING WELL.>>FAIR ENOUGH.>>AND WHEN YOU TAKE A SCHOOL
THAT WE WERE JUST AT YESTERDAY IN THE HEART OF ALBUQUERQUE,
MISSION ACHIEVEMENT AND SUCCESS, SERVING 1100 KIDS
OVER 90% LOW INCOME, THEY JUST EARNED THEIR FOURTH A IN A
ROW, THEY HAVE 100% GRADUATION RATES, THEY ARE OVER 85%
HISPANIC, I THINK IT IS MY JOB AND MY JOB TO SAY THAT SHOULD
BE POSSIBLE FOR ALL KIDS IN ALBUQUERQUE. LET’S GO TO MISSION
ACHIEVEMENT AND SUCCESS AND LEARN FROM THEM, SEE IF WE CAN
SCALE THOSE BEST PRACTICES. I HAVE ASKED APS, LET’S GO
THERE AND LEARN FROM THEM, THERE HAS BEEN A PHILOSOPHICAL
DIVIDE THAT SIMPLY IS BECAUSE 30 THAT SCHOOL IS A CHARTER
SCHOOL. OR SIMPLY BECAUSE THAT SCHOOL
IS IN GADSTON AND NOT IN THE URBAN CENTER. SOMEHOW THERE IS NOT A LOT TO
LEARN FROM GADSTON OR FARMINGTON, SOMEHOW NOT A LOT
TO LEARN FROM A SCHOOL THAT IS TWO BLOCKS FROM THE AIRPORT,
THAT SERVES 1100 KIDS WHO ARE PREDOMINANTLY HISPANIC AND LOW
INCOME. THAT IS A PHILOSOPHICAL IF NOT
POLITICAL BENT. WE SHOULD BE AGNOSTIC TO WHERE
GOOD IDEAS COME FROM. I AM THE FIRST PERSON TO ADMIT
I HAVE TAKEN IDEAS FROM EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF THE POLITICAL
SPECTRUM. THESE ARE NOT POLITICAL OR
IDEOLOGICAL ISSUES.>>SECOND TO LAST QUESTION. STAYING ON APS FOR A QUICK
SECOND. IS APS TOO BIG AS A SYSTEM? IS IT MANAGEABLE WITH THE SIZE
AND AMOUNT OF STUDENTS WE HAVE, WITH THE AMOUNT OF
INFRASTRUCTURE IT TAKES TO MANAGE THESE AMOUNT OF KIDS,
AMOUNT OF HEAD COUNT YOU HAVE TO HAVE AT APS HEADQUARTERS TO
MANAGE A SYSTEM LIKE THIS? IS THIS A VIABLE THOUGHT? WE TALK ABOUT THIS AT THE
TABLE QUITE A BIT.>>IT MIGHT BE A QUESTION OF
SIZE. I KNOW THAT GETS A LOT OF AIR
SPACE IN TERMS OF LET’S TALK ABOUT WHETHER IT IS THREE
DISTRICTS. WE HAVE DISTRICTS THAT HAVE
400 KIDS THAT ARE NOT DOING VERY WELL AND DISTRICTS WITH
10,000 KIDS THAT ARE DOING VERY WELL. I DON’T THINK, IN OF ITSELF, 31
THAT IS A CHALLENGE. I THINK THERE IS A GOVERNANCE
CHALLENGE. WE NEED THE GENERAL PUBLIC TO
CARE MORE ABOUT SCHOOL BOARD ELECTIONS AND WE NEED OUR
STUDENTS AND PARENTS AND FAMILIES FROM THE SOUTH VALLEY
TO THE NORTHEAST HEIGHTS AND BACK.>>WOULD YOU SEE ANY VALUE IN
BREAKING UP APS? IS THERE ANY INTRINSIC VALUE
THAT WE ARE NOT SEEING AS A GENERAL PUBLIC FROM YOUR
EXPERIENCE IF WE SPLIT INTO TWO? WE HAVE GEOGRAPHICAL ISSUES
WITH THE RIVER. IT GETS TRICKY HERE.>>I THINK THE ADVANTAGE COULD
BE POTENTIALLY SOUTH, CENTRAL AND NORTH, RIGHT? I THINK THE ADVANTAGE COULD BE
POTENTIALLY THAT THE STUDENTS AND FAMILIES, PARTICULARLY
THOSE IN THE SOUTH VALLEY, WOULD BE REPRESENTED SOLELY BY
REPRESENTATIVES FROM THE SOUTH VALLEY. SO THERE IS SOMETHING TO BE
SAID FOR THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS AROUND THAT BECAUSE,
UNFORTUNATELY, WHEN YOU HAVE A BIG DISTRICT, POWER FLOWS HOW
POWER FLOWS, AND PEOPLE HAVE VOIDS TRADITIONALLY IN THE WAY
THEY HAVE VOIDS. THERE IS SOMETHING TO BE SAID
FOR THAT. THAT BEING SAID, THERE IS A
MORE FUNDAMENTAL ISSUE AT THE GOVERNANCE LEVEL FOR APS THAT
ISN’T ALWAYS FOCUSED ON OUTCOMES, THAT ISN’T ALWAYS
FOCUSED ON ACHIEVEMENT. IF YOU LISTEN TO THE AVERAGE
SCHOOL BOARD MEETING, THE CONVERSATION SHOULD BE ABOUT
HOW ARE OUR STUDENTS DOING? 32
HOW ARE WE MEASURING THAT? THAT IS HOW YOU RUN A SYSTEM
WITH A CEO MAKING A QUARTER MILLION DOLLARS. SHE IS RUNNING A LARGE SYSTEM. THAT REQUIRES CONSTANT, RIGHT,
DISCUSSION ON THE PROGRESS.>>THANK YOU FOR COMING IN. IT HAS BEEN AN INTERESTING THREE
YEARS FOR YOU. ARE YOU INTERESTED IN STAYING ON
AND CONTINUING YOUR WORK AFTER THE ADMINISTRATION CHANGES?>>THIS IS THE BEST JOB I HAVE
EVER HAD BY FAR. WHEN I GOT HERE, WHAT I SAW
WAS ASSETS. WHAT I SAW WAS ASSETS AND I
HEARD A LOT OF CONVERSATION ABOUT DEFICITS, AND I AM LIKE,
WAIT A MINUTE HERE, OUR CULTURE, OUR HISTORY, OUR
TRADITION, THE SYSTEMS WE PUT IN PLACE, THE ASSESSMENTS WE
BUILT, OUR FUNDING SYSTEM, WHICH ACTUALLY IS A STATE
EQUALIZATION GUARANTEE, THAT IS WHAT ALMOST EVERY OTHER
STATE WISHES THEY HAD. RIGHT? SO THERE IS SO MANY ASSETS, IF
YOU WILL, ABOUT HOW NEW MEXICO HAS DONE THINGS, HOW OUR
LEGISLATURE OPERATES, AND I THINK COMING HERE FROM THE
OUTSIDE, I SAW ASSETS. I SAW A SPIRIT OF OPTIMISM
POSITIVITY. I DON’T BUY INTO THE PESSIMISM
THAT WE ARE CURRENTLY HEARING A LITTLE BIT. IT IS CAMPAIGN SEASON AND
THERE IS A POETRY TO PESSIMISM. I AM NOT BUYING IT. I FEEL INCREDIBLY OPTIMISTIC
AND IF GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY I WOULD LOVE TO STAY AND
CONTINUE TO SERVE THE CHILDREN OF NEW MEXICO.>>THANK YOU FOR COMING IN. APPRECIATE IT. THANKS FOR YOUR TIME.>>APPRECIATE IT.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *