Editorial: A low grade for governor’s education initiative

Is it good management to reward some teachers over others when not all teachers are equipped with the same resources? We believe not.

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A new educational initiative by the governor is based on a simple assumption: students who perform well on standardized tests can attribute their success to great teachers.

On that premise, teachers working in a school rated A or B are better than those working in one rated D or F.

By relocating a few of those educators at highly rated schools to campuses where students are struggling on the state’s exams, the hope is that performance will improve among pupils and teachers alike.

Gov. Susan Martinez’ initiative may look good on paper but we give it a poor grade.

A more realistic picture would be that those schools ranked low by the state have far less resources than those ranked high.

Low-rated schools may also have a large population of students who come from homes where English is not their primary language.

Locally, Ranchos and Enos García elementary schools got F ratings. Taos Middle School and Arroyos del Norte Elementary received D ratings.

Schools are ranked based on factors such as student proficiency and student improvement from one year to the next.

Martinez’ initiative would give up to 100 teachers a $5,000 stipend. Our math says that totals a half-million dollars.

Is it good management to reward some teachers over others when not all teachers are equipped with the same resources? We believe not.

Frankly, we would like the governor to use that money to fully fund education and finance initiatives to improve the basic welfare of our state’s children. Now that would take initiative.

Local honors

This week’s edition honors this year’s selection of Unsung Heroes and Citizen of the Year with a special section.

Tradiciones is a project that began in May when a group of community members gathered at the newsroom to make its selections. We believe they chose wisely.

Those honored work with our youth, promote the arts, offer spiritual guidance, and fight for important causes. In two cases, they are constantly on the frontline answering medical and other emergencies — and in one recent case, saving a man’s life.

And they do it without desire for recognition.

A Citizen of the Year can be honored for a lifetime of work or having a recent significant accomplishment. Patricia Michaels, this year’s honoree, has done both through her creativity and the positive attention she has brought Taos as a fashion designer.

Since 2001, The Taos News has honored 112 Unsung Heroes and 16 Citizens of the Year. This year we added 10 more people to the list.

These are people who help to make Northern New Mexico a special place to live. We doubt we will run out of people to honor this way.

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