One would think New Mexico Public Education Department Secretary Hanna Skandera is experiencing some professional discomfort these days. The travails are such we need a list o’ bullets:
- Sure she warned us PARCC scores would be awful, but so were AP, NAEP and pretty much all the 48 different tests public school students are forced to endure these days.
- Two PED staffers have come forward asserting that higher ups at PED were warned that the Mora Superintendent, ex-PED, was faking credentials enough to become the highest paid person in Mora.
- Graduation rates are down, especially in rural areas of New Mexico.
- A judge is set to rule fairly soon on whether the teacher evaluation system has to be blown up.
- The Feds won’t let her off the hook for her bungling of Special Education funding.
- And the lame attempt by her and her cronies to shut up opposition by calling a Facebook page a “political action committee” was officially, finally, laughed out of court.
Ms. Skandera is on a losing streak of such length that she’d been fired long ago by any baseball team or Fortune 500 company. Fortunately for her, she has two things going for her:
- She works for Fortune 500 companies through the guise of “public service,” and those companies don’t give a damn if the public school system collapses any more than they cared about derivatives causing “irrational exuberance” leading to the Great Recession. In other words, Skandera works for folks “shorting public school stock.”
- She can always say, “Well, yeah, I am demonstrating an increasingly incompetent form of leadership, one for which I deserve derision and calls for my ouster, but hey, at least I’m not Albuquerque Public Schools!!!”
Yeah, Skandera can always play the “APS Sucks More” card and she did just the other day when referring to an NM Legislative-requested audit which found (AMAZING as it may seem) that there’s too much standardized testing in New Mexico. And the sad truth is that she has a scintilla of a point.
Because APS does suck. It’s really awful. It’s ridiculously bad. No, it’s nowhere near as corrupt, venal and mendacious about it (okay, maybe it’s just as corrupt), but it’s almost, damn close, to as incompetently run as Skandera’s PED.
It’s actually quite a contest.
Right now, students and teachers in APS are subject to “interim assessments” at the middle school level, and I can’t for the life of me find one actual dictate from any entity, federal or state, requiring us to have them. On top of that, the two middle school test windows are a strange “okay, let’s put these tests in the only places where we don’t already have tests!” configuration. The first one is now, the second one is, as this link shows, at the end of January.
In other words, we’re having a test now and another one right at 40 school days from now. I haven’t even mentioned the fact that teachers/students know next to nothing about these interim assessments, only that one is online and the other isn’t. We sure as hell don’t know what the scores mean, if the second test score is supposed to be dramatically higher to show we’re teaching the content right….nothing.
These “interim assessments” have about as much meaning as a Hanna Skandera column in the Albuquerque Journal. And that’s saying something. It’s damn hard to mean any less than that.
So the battle rages on. Skandera/PED laughably tells us it will conduct an investigation of itself over the Mora Superintendent debacle, somehow expecting us to believe it won’t be biased and sugar-coated. APS has the whole Valentino, et. al. (insert curse words here). Back and forth it goes, self-inflicted blow after another! Who is winning this vicious battle of incompetence?
I don’t think I need to mention who is really losing this battle. No, I think that’s pretty obvious.