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Education Failures Continue to Increase

It’s that time year again. The time when the No Child Left Behind Adequate Yearly Progress Reports comes out. Again, our schools are failing to deliver on improvement promises made by everyone from Governor Bill Richardson on down.

Two years ago, I went on a rant about the lack of a sense of urgency on the part of our education administrators and Governor appointees regarding the lack of progress. Then last year, I pointed out that the news had gone from bad to worse with more than 54% of schools failing to make Adequate Yearly Progress.

And guess what, this year we’ve fallen even further with more than 58% of the schools failing to achieve Adequate Yearly Progress. How much worse, can this get before we decide continuing along the same path year after year is just not working?

The spin coming from Governor Richardson’s appointee (subscription) is nothing less than nauseating:

Statewide, more than 58 percent of New Mexico’s schools didn’t make adequate yearly progress. That figure is up slightly from 54.1 percent last year.

But state Education Secretary Veronica Garcia pointed out Friday that some schools found themselves on the failing list even though they met or exceeded proficiency standards in reading and math. Garcia pointed out 13 schools labeled as failing, even though they met proficiency targets for all students. Among those schools were Montessori of the Rio Grande and Twenty-First Century, both of Albuquerque.

“To label a school as failing— not making AYP for missing, for example, participation rate in one subgroup— and labeling the whole school as failing is very misleading to everyone,” Garcia said. She said while the spirit behind the law is admirable, its implementation can be unfair.

Political Spin 101 is to reframe the issue to shift focus from your failures. If you reclassify those 13 schools the Education Secretary is referencing does that paint a prettier picture? I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure it would still mean that more than 50% of our schools are failing to meet Adequate Yearly Progress. No matter how you slice it or dice it, this is unacceptable.

And, what does APS have to say about their continued failure:

APS spokeswoman Monica Armenta said the district will scrutinize the designations carefully to ensure their accuracy.

“We are going to go page by page, school by school, category by category,” Armenta said.

Oh yeah, that’s the problem. The reports aren’t accurate. Glad to see you’ve got your focus in the right place. Speaking of having things in the right place. Don’t you think it is odd that APS has a news section on their front page, but fails to provide notification the latest Adequate Yearly Progress Reports have been released.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that APS, as a district, is failing for at least the second year in a row. Now, I’m not a big fan of breaking up the district because research doesn’t demonstrate that will change much of anything. However, the time has come to revisit school choice options. Our government is failing, and it is time to give the responsibility of educating our children back to parents.