Educators questioning governor's teacher prep reforms

From the Las Cruces Sun-NewsBy Lindsey AndersonLAS CRUCES >> Local educators are already raising concerns about new programs for teachers and principals that Gov. Susana Martinez announced Tuesday.
     The programs include a new ranking system for the state's six education schools that bases ratings on how much alumni's student test scores improve, among other measures. Graduates who increase their students' achievement will increase their alma maters' rankings.
     The ratings will also include classroom observation; how many alumni teach science, technology, engineering or math; how they progress in their careers; how long they stay teachers; and how many pass the state licensure exam, Education Secretary Hanna Skandera said. The state has not yet finalized the calculation, she said. "The first few years for teachers in the classroom are linked to how well they're prepared," she said.
      But educators are questioning the fairness of judging teachers and their colleges on how well graduates' K-12 students perform. "On its face, it appears that the metrics they're using are too narrow," local teachers union president Patrick Sanchez said. "There are so many factors involved in what we call success."
     The announcement is the latest effort to use students' standardized test scores to evaluate teachers, schools, colleges and more, Arrowhead Park Early College High School teacher Amy Simpson said.
     Much of a public school's A-F grades and the new teacher evaluation are based on growth in students' standardized test scores.
     "The reason there's so much emphasis on this (student test scores) is it's easy, it's a simple measure," Simpson said. "That's a lot easier than measuring life-long learning. Single numbers are an easy thing to cling on to, but they are just that; they are just a number." More