In Case You Missed It: Stop Bullying Our Educators: Stand Up for New Mexico’s Educators!

Secretary Skandera & Governor Martinez

In Case You Missed It! Stop Bullying Our Educators: Stand Up for New Mexico’s Educators!

UPDATED: September 19, 2016 – Friday, Secretary Hanna Skandera and the NM PED released educator evaluations for the third year in a row using standardized testing to comprise 50% of an educators score. Standardized tests are designed to measure student growth, NOT to make decisions on educator licenses or a student’s ability to graduate.

AFT NM is still fighting hard to have this dangerous evaluation system scrapped in the State of New Mexico and in December 2015 won an injunction preventing school districts from making employment decisions based on these “evaluations.”

But this is only half the battle – we must continue to oppose this system and you can help by contributing to our “Educator Defense Fund.” By donating to this fund, you are taking a stand and saying that New Mexico’s educators are more than a test score and that you believe in treating them fairly.

We are representing educators in a lawsuit which seeks to hold PED to standards of evaluation based on math and reliable statistical models. What you saw yesterday is not based upon any reliable statistical model.

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To: Secretary Skandera & Governor Martinez
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STOP Using the Value Added Model to Evaluate Educators

With the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (2015), Federal requirements no longer exist requiring states to use VAM as a component to evaluate educators. We know that VAM is an unfair, unjust way to evaluate out educators, and a court has agreed with us, issuing an injunction in 2015 to stop the harm.

PED’s statistical model is poorly designed, and even more poorly executed. We won’t agree to ranking teachers based upon bad math, for any purpose. Any regulations which tie teacher performance to measures of student achievement growth based upon any Department approved statistical model will harm New Mexico teachers.

STOP Denying License Advancement Based on Results of a Flawed Statistical Model

Students, Parents, and our Communities want the best educators possible in the classrooms – and we share that value. However, any model which ranks teachers based upon a flawed statistical model leaves in place the ability of the PED or the Districts to refuse licensure advancement based upon this defective system. On top of that, educators are then subjected to penalties – including inability to advance in their career – based on the results of standardized tests. This is simply unfair, and hurts our students.

STOP Placing Educators on Un-needed ‘Growth Plans’

The current method of evaluation creates a system where educators whose students do not score high enough on the myriad of standardized tests (upwards of 100+ days in some districts) be placed on ‘growth plans.’ These growth plans jeopardize an educator’s license and also disrupt classroom instruction. In addition, testimony from a PED witness during a court hearing revealed that as many as 25% of our New Mexico educators are misclassified due to inaccuracies with the PED VAM evaluation system – that’s 6,000+ education professionals in New Mexico!

STOP Creating ‘Top-Down’ Policies without Educator Input

New Mexico has a historic shortage of qualified educators. Yet, instead of partnering with existing educators to create an environment where students succeed and educators are respected, the PED has repeatedly opted not to engage professionals in the field. Educators, unions, and administrators should be involved in developing, implementing and monitoring the system to ensure it reflects good teaching well, that it operates effectively, that it is tied to useful learning opportunities for teachers, and that it produces valid results

High-performing education systems have policies in place which respect and support their educators and use evaluations not as punitive measures but as opportunities for improvement. Educators, unions, and administrators should oversee the evaluation process to ensure it is thorough and of high quality, as well as fair and reliable.

It’s time to cut the politics and stop the abuse of New Mexico students and educators.