Eight thousand educators from every state will be attending the National Education Association’s Representative Assembly in Washington, D-C. this week.
NEA President Betty Patterson will be at the assembly. One major topic: implementation of the new federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act. The Department of Education is calling on states to get input from educators and a wide variety of stakeholders. Patterson says, right now, educators don’t have much of a dialogue with New Mexico’s education department.
In contrast, in Georgia, a state that also has a Republican Governor, there have been sweeping changes…including input from a panel of educators. Georgia has also reduced the impact of standardized test results on teacher evaluations from 50 percent to 30 percent. Despite widespread criticism, New Mexico has generally used test results for 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation. Patterson says Georgia’s reforms could be a model for New Mexico.
Patterson also says the state needs to address education funding to ensure teachers get the materials and training they need. And she says New Mexico’s failure to keep up with teacher pay is also an issue. For instance, Las Cruces Public Schools pays starting teachers $34,000 a year, while the El Paso Independent School District pays $44,000.