This Week's Scheduled Guests

    The guest list for next week's News New Mexico shows is complete (team photo left).
    News New Mexico education editor Del Hanson is scheduled for Monday morning at 8:30am. On Tuesday morning at 7:30am Las Cruces City Councilor Dolores Connor will join us and make her views known on the controversy surrounding the extension of North Sonoma Ranch Boulevard. Mayor Ken Miyagishima will follow on Wednesday morning. NMSU Head Football Coach DeWayne Walker will be our guest on Thursday.

BP Hopeful That Damaged Well Can Stay Closed

After three days of encouraging test results, BP said Sunday that it planned to leave its well in the Gulf of Mexico closed until it could be permanently plugged, perhaps in several weeks. Read more here:

Educational Inertia and the Impending Train Wreck

    The public schools are like a train barreling down a dead-end track, and there seems to be no way to even slow it down, let alone turn it around. You would have to be blind to not see the problem. Yet, as a society, we choose not to see it.
    I was a physics major in college. Want a conversation-stopper at a party? Just mention that you majored in physics. First, they get a look of disbelief like a lab turning its head a quarter turn when you ask it what a quark is, followed by a blank expression of consternation, and finally they hold their head in abject horror like the figure in Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”, before quietly slinking away to “freshen their drink”. Or, try this for a suicidal move at a rockin’ get-together: mention that you were a physics major AND suggest that the discussion topic be about institutional inertia in education. Might as well as have someone yell “he’s got the plague” on the streets of London in 1348. They scatter like rats.
    What we are doing in public education isn’t working. Oh, there are pockets of excellence and many hard-working, dedicated teachers still toil under difficult, if not nearly impossible, circumstances. However, if public education were an automaker, it would be belly-up and closing its doors, or at least re-structuring under bankrupcy laws. If ever a giant corporation needed to re-tool and re-organize, public education should. But, is it too big to die? It may not be too large to die, but it is definately too large to reform itself.

To use a physics term and apply it to education, it can be said that “there is too much institutional inertia to even slow the train down, let alone stop it and turn it around.” A quantum leap change must occur for public education to improve and reform. Sadly, it won’t happen in a system that now exists chiefly to perpetuate itself.

The most positive step forward in recent years was the creation of a mechanism that generated charter schools. The report is mixed on the success of charter schools, with pockets of excellence mixed with cesspools of scandal and closure. However, the charter movement seeks to move outside the carefully fortified boundaries of institutional structure that has become public education, a fortress made impregnable not by results, but by the sheer power of funding
    Lest one rise to his or her feet and accuse this writer of being another negative Nellie bashing education, I might add that I have worked hard in public education for over three decades, always supporting and often defending it. However, even I can sense and see that what we are doing isn’t working. It benefits few, especially the children we purport to serve, to pretend that things are good and getting better. Eight years of Draconian measures spurred by No Child Left Behind haven’t made even a big dent in the overall success of our schools, except to provide a massive jobs program for test manufacturers. School children, their parents, the teachers, and the nation deserve better.