Growing up surrounded by a mother and sisters who were teachers, Karen Trujillo decided to rebel. “No,” she said to herself as a child, rejecting the idea she should become an educator. “I don’t want to do that. I want to do something else.” But the call of the classroom was too strong for her to resist, she said, and when she was about 12 she had what she called an epiphany.
Public Education Department Secretary Hanna Skandera said earlier this legislative session that her agency doesn’t include practice time in numbers it quotes regarding total time the tests require, an about-face from past statements from the department. Skandera relayed the new information in a February 3 Senate Finance Committee meeting in response to Sen. Howie Morales, D-Silver City, who has worked as a special education teacher. Her agency has relied on a consistent set of numbers in public statements meant for students, parents and educators, many of whom are increasingly concerned that standardized assessments detract from valuable classroom time. Those numbers, such as the ones quoted in this March 2014 handout, are reassuring:
Overall, on average across all grades, state-mandated testing time has decreased by about 30 minutes per year. Today, less than two percent of the school year is dedicated to state-mandated testing.
One Albuquerque Democrat wants to roll back two high profile education initiatives advocated by Gov. Susana Martinez. Among the pieces of legislation introduced by Sen. Linda Lopez are SB 196, whichwould discontinue the use of Common Core curriculum standards in the state, and SB 138 which would repeal the law that requires A-F grading of schools in the state. Lopez, who ran for the Democratic nomination for governor last year, said parents across the state had told her that they did not like the use of Common Core standards. Lopez told New Mexico Political Report that she understood the premise of national standards for tests. “But the biggest concern, of course, is what about the issues on diversity?”