Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 21
New Mexico, which ranks 51st in 4th
grade reading and 47th on 8th grade
math on the National Assessment of
Educational Progress, has instituted
a series of significant changes to its
educational system in recent years, in
particular since 2011. Some of these
have been controversial, however, and
the state may be shifting its approach in
For example, over the past seven years,
the state has instituted a new teacherevaluation system designed to identify
low-performing teachers. It was vigorously
opposed by unions and others, but in the
past two years the state has attempted to
create a more collaborative environment
between teachers and state education
New Mexico also created an advisory
council of 26 teachers, and eventually
hopes to have a teacher liaison in each of
the state's nearly 850 schools. There are
also newly created teacher ambassadors,
and a panel of 36 teachers that developed
curriculum materials for the state focused
Elsewhere, New Mexico has stuck with
its A-F school accountability system, and
is using principals as the key to its school
turnaround efforts. The state is also
ramping up "course choice" efforts to help
expand academic offerings to students,
and is leaning more on teachers to create
content for instruction.
Barriers to Postsecondary
New Mexico's graduation rate was
71 percent for the 2015-16 school year,
the second-lowest in the nation, according
to statistics from the U.S. Department of
Education released last year. In 2011, the
state's graduation rate stood at 63 percent.
This year, GOP Gov. Susanna Martinez
said the state has doubled the number of
Advanced Placement courses offered. She
also said New Mexico has dramatically
increased the share of students from lowincome households who have access to
AP classes. Since 2013, the state has had
an "early warning" system designed to
prevent students from dropping out.
Beginning in the 2017-18 school year,
Nevada put in place new graduation
requirements that focus on end-of-course
exams. Students will have to pass those
tests in five subject areas in order to
graduate. The new requirements will
be phased in over four academic years.
In the 2020-21 school year, students'
performance on these end-of-course tests
will account for 20 percent of students'
grades in the respective courses. The
shift is part of the state's "Nevada
Ready!" initiative that is designed in
part to increase "expectations of what
our students will know and master to be
college- and career-ready."
Dan Koeck for Education Week
A water-filled balloon is used to demonstrate blood pressure to 4th graders at Washington Elementary School in Valley
City, N.D. The school has been recognized for maintaining funding for programs such as arts instruction, personalized
technology, physical education, and nutrition.
To K-12 Improvement
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 19
discipline data, and school spending habits.
While that's a step in the right direction, said Sandra Vergari, a professor at the State University of New York at Albany
who studies educational policy and leadership, it'll matter
greatly how this data is collected and presented to the public.
She pointed out that even when it's clear to the public that
their schools need help, parents and their advocates often
have a hard time navigating states' political systems, a tangled web of technocrats and elected leaders with duplicative
roles and authorities.
"The public needs to have good accessibility to quality
data," Vergari said. "They need to know where to get it and
how to make sense of it and then equipped, civically, to know
how they can act on it."
Experts also raised concerns about the capacity of state departments of education, which will have an increased responsibility in the coming years to implement governors' and legislatures' agendas and come up with solutions on their own.
Because of mass layoffs in recent years, there are fewer
people left in state departments to carry out ever-more ambitious tasks.
State chiefs, who have been under political fire in recent
years for testing, accountability systems, and standards,
have been resigning at an alarming rate. While it takes
more than five years to craft, implement and judge the
merits of school improvement policies, the average state
chief today lasts a little more than two years.
"I would hope that the political waters would calm down
a bit," said Michael Martirano, the former chief of West
Virginia schools and the current district superintendent of
Howard County schools in Maryland. "Every time there's
a new appointment, it creates a level of policy incoherence
for school districts, and that's not healthy."
Kristen Amundson, the president and CEO of the National Association of State Boards of Education, said it'll
take some years for departments to shed their culture of
compliance where they mostly just assured that districts
were abiding by federal law.
"It's important to remember that we have an entire generation of policymakers and administrators who came up
in a compliance-driven system," Amundson said. "There are
still people who ask, 'What can we do?'"
As technology and globalization shift employers' expectations of K-12 graduates, solutions to some of schools' most
vexing problems remain opaque.
School funding, which, depending on the state, has
historically been heavily tied to revenues from natural
resources and income and property taxes, has still not reached
pre-Great Recession levels, finance experts point out. For
states that struggle and where student poverty is concentrated and far-reaching, they say, it'll be more and more difficult to build up special education services, keep class sizes
effectively small, retain quality teachers, and build in-school
wraparound services to support students.
"It's very hard to close opportunity gaps with inequitable
funding," said Amundson.
It will become more necessary for states and foundations
"Every time there's a new
appointment, it creates a
level of policy incoherence.
... and that's not healthy."
Schools Superintendent, Howard County, Md.
to invest in research, said Hoover, of the University of Oklahoma. He pointed out that research pilots require lots of
money, patience and political capital, resources many struggling states don't have. Once potential solutions are found,
he said, state departments must then figure out ways to promote and duplicate that success.
"From what I saw, well-funded states have better opportunities to document successes," Hoover said. "Documenting
successes leads to stability."
Vergari said state collaboration will become more important in the future. The failure to do so was illustrated painfully as states stumbled over implementation of the controversial Common Core State Standards. "Knowledge will be
a key resource," she said, pointing out that mass layoffs at
state education departments led to a loss of expertise. "A key
opportunity is going to be for states to work with each other
and share knowledge and ideas and cull resources. You don't
have to reinvent the wheel 50 times." n
EDUCATION WEEK | January 17, 2018 | www.edweek.org | 21
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - January 17, 2018
Education Week - January 17, 2018
QUALITY COUNTS 2018: Grading the States
Cheating Scandal in Atlanta Casts Long Shadow
Unknown Fate for DACA Leaves Dreamers on Edge
News in Brief
Ed. Dept. Finds Texas Suppressed Spec. Ed. Enrollment
How Classroom Location Matters In Teacher Collaboration
How Much Reform Is Too Much? Teachers Weigh In
Students Thrive When They See Purpose In Their Learning
K-12 Districts Advised on Rights in Post-‘Net Neutrality’ Era
What’s on the Runway for Trump, Congress on Education?
Year One: K-12 Presidential Scorecards
States Slow in Adopting ESSA’s Testing Flexibility
At Halfway Mark, Congress Faces Pile of Education Issues
K-12 Key Topic for State Legislators
Patrick J. Wolf: Four Sound Practices for Public Debate
DATA: Which 2018 RHSU Edu-Scholars have the greatest social-media influence?
Pedro A. Noguera: How to Decide When Your Voice Is Necessary
DATA: Where are the Edu-Scholars?
Robert Kelchen: Some Cautions for Junior Scholars (and Their Institutions)
DATA: Percentage of 2018 RHSU Edu-Scholars with Twitter accounts
Diana Hess: Scholars, Don’t Overstep Your Expertise
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Frederick M. Hess: When Public Scholarship Gives Way to Bombast and Bluster
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - Unknown Fate for DACA Leaves Dreamers on Edge
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 2
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 3
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - News in Brief
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 5
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - Ed. Dept. Finds Texas Suppressed Spec. Ed. Enrollment
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - How Classroom Location Matters In Teacher Collaboration
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - How Much Reform Is Too Much? Teachers Weigh In
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - Students Thrive When They See Purpose In Their Learning
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - K-12 Districts Advised on Rights in Post-‘Net Neutrality’ Era
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 11
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 12
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 13
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 14
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 15
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 16
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 17
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 18
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 19
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 20
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 21
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - Year One: K-12 Presidential Scorecards
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - States Slow in Adopting ESSA’s Testing Flexibility
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - K-12 Key Topic for State Legislators
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - DATA: Which 2018 RHSU Edu-Scholars have the greatest social-media influence?
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - DATA: Percentage of 2018 RHSU Edu-Scholars with Twitter accounts
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - Diana Hess: Scholars, Don’t Overstep Your Expertise
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - Letters
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 30
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 31
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - Frederick M. Hess: When Public Scholarship Gives Way to Bombast and Bluster
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - CW1
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - CW2
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - CW3
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - CW4