Teachers Fleeing New Mexico Districts

This article was last updated 12/28/2013 in order to capture the numbers of vacancies as they were on that day.  The links to district hiring sites will reflect different numbers.

Thanks to an orchestrated drive to punish good teachers and reward those who follow the rules (yes, there is a big difference), the numbers of early retirements and resignations in districts throughout New Mexico are increasing rapidly.  There is always turnover to be expected, but not like this, and not at the semester break.  This is happening elsewhere, too, but New Mexico stands to be hurt worse by it.

According to informal surveys and data, the following districts are seeing teachers leave as soon as the Winter Holiday commences, and they aren’t coming back.

Hobbs Municipal Schools: 32 reported resignations; 19 open positions

Las Cruces Public Schools: 26 open positions

Roswell Independent School District: 26 open positions

Central Consolidated School District: 28 open positions

Clovis Municipal Schools: 6 open positions, plus 4 reported high school English teachers (isn’t that all of them?)

Alamogordo Public Schools: 11 open positions

Gadsden ISD: 16 open positions

Rio Rancho Public Schools: 19 open positions

Gallup-McKinley County Schools: 25 open positions

Santa Fe Public Schools: 53 open positions

Albuquerque Public Schools: 171 reported resignations; 170 open positions

These numbers will change over the course of the next two weeks, when official numbers start getting reported.  And we will see more and more smaller districts lose more and more good teachers.

This is a crisis that has been propagated by Skandera’s PED.  Even as she hawks the new teacher evaluation plan as a miracle for our students, teachers are realizing that the system is hurting their students and there’s nothing they can do about it.  So they either choose to stay, knowing that they should do whatever they are able to protect those students (even though the evaluation process will ultimately call them “ineffective”), or they can leave now, while they still have some of their sanity and health intact.

Hanna Skandera will no doubt spin this as something that is good for New Mexico’s kids and our future.  It’s not.  It just isn’t.  Skandera will gladly replace those good teachers with temps and corps members that are trained to do one thing: turn kids into good test takers.  She will no doubt suggest that this is a “weed out” process that had to be done, just as her friends have done in the past.

Here are some of the voices that are reporting the losses:

We had a PE teacher at my school retire after the first day back. Another teacher announced she was going to retire in May, but decided by October she had had enough.

We had a special education teacher leave in October. He said that he had simply had enough.

My daughter is losing [a] math teacher. Excellent teacher, really bummed she’s leaving but on the other hand I totally get it.

My daughter’s excellent chemistry teacher will not be returning after Xmas. Breaks my heart.

This is truly bad news.  These are not bad teachers.  These are not flunkies who couldn’t “cut it.”  These are professionals who can’t bear the thought of going along with a reform movement that hurts kids and threatens teachers’ livelihoods.

Most importantly, this “weeding out” process is bad for kids.

New Mexico parents, fight this with the most powerful weapon you have: the love of your children and the understanding that the public schools are the one thing standing between your kids and this scenario:

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Comments

  1. Thank you! You opened my eyes.

  2. Shannon says:

    You want to talk corruption? Not only is our local AND national government corrupt but so are the school systems. Rio Rancho Public School District was at one time the best in the state, but that is past. The district employs principals who ROUTINELY bully, intimidate, and falsify documents against teachers (including observations used for PED evaluations which result in the grade of effective or ineffective). When these issues are (and have been in several cases) brought to District Office they deny all grievances and force the issue to go to arbitration. The district has tax-payers money for lawyers but it costs the union and it’s members thousands of dollars to solve issues that if addressed, could have been solved at the lowest level costing nothing. RRPS’s goal? Drain the union of all funds so they have no voice. What is the PED doing about this? Help Rio Rancho teachers by voicing any and all concerns to the board or to PED.

  3. I voted for Obama because I thought he was going to help teachers,we should all write him a letter

  4. Face it, New Mexico is THE bottom of the barrel state when it comes to teacher pay, class sizes and attitude towards education and, news flash, it’s never going to get better. Go to Texas or Arizona and teacher pay nearly doubles and the teaching atmosphere improves. My wife is taking early retirement so we can leave and I can teach in a better state (Arizona) and both of us can enjoy a far better quality of life. Thanks Susana Martinez and Hanna Skandera for all you’ve done to make New Mexico’s education system even more bureaucratically top heavy and teacher evaluation a bureaucratic court of the star chamber.

    New Mexico…….It makes Mississippi look good.

    • indagila says:

      True Alex> I watched susanna hold teachers by the hand and promise to their faces to clean up the corruption at PED. She fired the IG. Not only has she taken on Common Core, she has brought on one of the developers as her Sec. Ed.
      In the Cobre* district, fraudulent credentials are the rule and it is known at PED. As are the numerous cases of fraud, including millions in medicaid. Wanna talk ELL? Money cow that one !
      No, Susanna only get’s to fool us once. And since she has given the ranch people the short to, they don’t like her anymore either.
      *As turd world as New Mexico education is, it should be stated that not only is the Cobre Consolidated School district of Grant County New Mexico among the lowest performing district’s in the state, but in the larger nation as well. And it is known from the district level, the state level and at the federal level.
      But Common Core will make the criminals in the district accountable?
      Go Indian’s!

  5. The much promised “Bold change” has not transpired. Before any amount of improvement takes place in NM ED, the corruption at every level must be addressed. The Cobre Schools of Grant county have a SPED Director that is not elegable to even be in administration, he holds no teaching credential nor has he ever taught, but he’s related. There are numerous teachers there with fully fraudulent credentials, including a “Dr.” who is an assistant Sup. Along with millions in fraud AND, and award winning while nonexistant ELL program! All of this is known in Santa Fe, where Cobre has friends. Quality teachers are leaving and Newest Mexico. And NM will remain at the bottom of barrel. Corruption here is a growth industry is seems. A growth industry with a slogan: “Etts all abou de keeds”.

  6. I am very surprised that us teachers haven’t had a massive sick out across the state. That is what we need. Parents need to wake up to what is going on they have the power to make change.

  7. The Longhorn says:

    ):o I’m a devout conservative, & I favor education vouchers, but MERIT PAY FOR TEACHERS IS A BAD IDEA. You can’t punish a teacher because the kids refused to do their homework, which is what it all comes down to. Lucky me, I teach in Texas, not New Mexico. If I could get five minutes with your governor, I’d explain it to her. Kind of a pity, since I like her on other issues.

    • Our Governor is from Texas! It will not get better from here on out. Sadly, the Special Education Dept. has always been under the gun, and now more than ever. Shortage on teachers answer here now is hiring those with waivers! How are they to be evaluated when not “true” teachers?? Will they be non-effective after this next wave of test? What happened to the idea that we put Children First to educate them, not make test clones for the system? I worked with Special Needs children for 22 years, and it’s hard enough. Bad teachers, really? What about the parents who don’t support your efforts with the homework, conferences, and negative behavior? Oh, yes can we label them non-effective parents? No, blame the teacher, easy out for New Mexico Governor.

  8. I’m a 10 year vet leaving in a week. Can’t stand the enormous amount of BS anymore. I’m a conservative and will not vote for Martinez. This entire system is a joke!!!

  9. As a middle school Art teacher, I allow the classes to work at tables and while they work, they have conversations. Over the 20 years at the same school, I have heard such terrible things that the students claim were said to them by teachers in my school. To tell a child that they will never amount to anything or even tell them to shut up is inexcusable. I am amazed that these teachers are still in our school. I wish the system would provide interventions for these teachers. I have seen entire programs eliminated because the teacher was bad (rude). They couldn’t just move the teacher, but they could stop offering the class and magically the teacher has to go too!!!

    • I have seen dreadful teachers too in my career but they are far and few between compared to the wonderful teachers who care. This evaluation system is NOT about getting rid of bad teachers. It is about corporate takeover – from the $ paid to TeachScape to the $ paid to Pearson. This data frenzy is being used to scare us into thinking we have a huge problem that only private industry can fix. It is a way to expend minimum dollars on teacher salaries while pumping billions into the coffers of greedy hedge fund managers and CEO’s. Susana and Hannah get a little on the side. WAKE UP people and see this for what it is! FOLLOW THE MONEY!

      • Bravo and thanks for bringing up Pearson, TeachScape and all the other crony capitalism that is happening – corporate monsters like Pearson are heavy players in all this and have escaped any responsibility so far.

    • The Longhorn says:

      ):o To tell a child that (s)he will never amount to anything is inexcusable, but if (s)he doesn’t have enough manners to know when to stop talking, (s)he deserves to be told to shut up. My gosh, can’t we pick our battles better than that?

    • I agree that the teachers who need assistance and guidance to improve will never benefit from our new system because they are way too good at just putting on a show in front of an administrator. There are some things going on behind the scenes that need improvement, but the “show” that is being put on by these type of teachers allows them to look effective, even though there is more than meets the eye. i have seen children bribed and punished to provide the 40 minutes of rehearsed behavior the teacher wants…it makes me sick that we have to continue with this–teachers need support not threats to improve. The critical thinking, driving education forward, actually caring to speak up teachers are the ones I see being punished and deemed ineffective, and ultimately those that will leave, hurting our schools more. Shame on you Ms. Skandera- come spend some time in a school for more than a photo op why don’t you?

  10. Until education becomes important at home, nothing the govt does will cause improvement. Performance based pay doesn’t work in education. All you get is people teaching the test. That’s why I teach at a private school.

  11. If you read Skandera’s writing you will see that she thinks teacher turnover is good for schools and students so this is what she wanted all along. I seriously doubt the Democratic House or Senate will go along with here plan to raise beginning teachers salary by 10% – they will take the money and spread it over all teachers so that hopefully is a non-starter. But it does show Martinez and Skandera’s game plan -get rid of all the “old” teachers in NM.

    • Who does Skandera think is going to fill these newly vacated positions? They will be filled with substitutes or inexperienced new graduates. Now that is a sure fire way to “raise test scores”.

      • indagila says:

        She is also counting on rehires of retired teachers, burn outs that will be good, be quiet and teach to the tests. Martinez, will do nothing, she is Bill Richardson in a skirt and in truth, none too bright herself.
        She said when elected the she would eliminate corruption in education.That it would not be “treated as an issue of consience, but as a crime” . Skankdera said “Heads would roll ” If she found administrators “gaming the system”.
        Seen any rolling heads?

    • I have talked to numerous friends in Florida and none of them have no idea who Skandera is. One of them had to research her.

  12. freetoteach says:

    great conversation and very interesting about teachers in NM
    teachers are also leaving here in NJ now that Common Core is sweeping the state – administrators are scrambling for boots on the ground and it’s not going to get better any time soon unless priorities shift

  13. hannah just told what to do this is all susana doing

  14. Anthony Romero says:

    In our district teachers at one of the top performing schools are being ranked as mediocre by the person conducting the evaluations. Meanwhile teachers at a failing school are being rated as excellent by a different evaluator. Just one of the atrocities of this flawed system. My wife is by all accounts an excellent teacher, I have suggested to her on several occasions that she consider a career change. As ridiculously frustrating as her job has become, she cannot bring herself to leave the kids she cares about.
    Hanna Skandera must be ousted. I am a staunch conservative. I will not vote for Susanna Martinez again. She will destroy our state by destroying our education system!

    • Have you called the Gov’s office and told them this?

      And yes – you are correct the evaluations are totally arbitrary and capricious. They are also damaging as they set one teacher against another.

      • courtney quinonez says:

        Michael, you can call, email, show up in person until you are blue in the face. PED will not respond to any request for information or questions from citizens.

        • I was at a meeting last night and found out a few things – PED has a huge number of empty positions. Instead of hiring folks the Martinez Admin is using out of sate contractors for everything.

          Can I make a request – have you called your State Rep or Senator and told them how you feel? Unless folks do this Hanna is gonna get approved as the PED Secretary!

      • I totally agree- I was evaluated by a complete stranger for 25 minutes…and a completely different administrator 6 months later..how can you compare 2 scores by 2 different people…this is supposed to compare and gauge improvement, but is done by two different people, looking for completely different measures of “effectiveness”, and with relative judgments…and the student scores that were to be part of the equation? Not valid until next year..so all the progress they made doesn’t even count. I would support a walk out-make teachers importance known.

  15. I think its extremely sad what skandera (who by the way has never been in education in anyway herself) is doing to our teachers. These evaluations are beyond unfair to teachers. Really how does giving a bad evaluation to a good teacher a good thing. Skandera and the governor both need to wakeup and realize they arent helping our state at all. Teachers should not be going home in tears every night and should not be spending just as many hours at school trying to make things work as they do during school hours. I see it on a daily basis what this is doing to our teachers health and its not good. Lose the tests and these unfair evaluations and let the teachers do what they are well underpaid to do LET THEM TEACH. ACTUALLY TEACH.

  16. So the author makes a pretty hard line in the sand that one cannot be a good teacher, and one who follows the rules. A fairly ridiculous generalization. I have only been teaching 5 years but I know enough to see that there is eb and flow to all of this. Just like the weather in ABQ, if you don’t like NM education policies, wait ten minutes. Those leaving are afraid of any change, and should be leaving. The rest of us will sim

    • Ply wait under our umbrellas until the skies clear, because they always do in NM. If you can’t handle a few days of monsoon, and choose to ignore the 300 days of the joy of educating our youth, then this isn’t where you need to be.

      • i think the author makes no such “hard line in the sand” she simply points out that being one does not make you automatically the other. they are not given as mutually exclusionary of each other. and you say you teach? your reading comprehension could use some work. please try to point to my lack of grammar/punctuation in an attempt distract from my very correct observation.

      • Are you working for the Martinez administration?

      • I understand what you mean about the ebb and flow. We are still dealing with the aftermath of whole language. How much damage will be inflicted before it changes again? I am a 12 year veteran teacher. I can guarantee you that I am a much better teacher now than when I was a first year teacher. Who are they going to fill those empty positions with? Subs? Inexperienced college graduates? What kind of education will those students get?

    • Normally, I would agree. But I’ve dug deep enough into this for long enough to know this isn’t your typical ebb and flow. Dig a little deeper. It’ll make your head spin.

    • George, I have been a NM educator for 36 years and I agree with Kris that this is much bigger. I am still hanging in, by the way, but I don’t know if I could afford to do that if I were in the beginning of my career. This is a takeover of public education and it is going to get much worse before it gets better here in NM.

  17. Three of us in Tatum are leaving in May. Although our leaving was not necessarily caused by Skadera, it certainly made the decision to move out of state much easier for at least two of us. We are a blessed district and our superintendent does everything in his power to protect us from the state’s messes. If not for him and my love for my students, my last day would be next week. If you are going to stay in education, I pray you can at least be in a district like Tatum.

  18. Check out the numbers in Roswell Independent Schools District…………….they have had a huge amount of people who have retired!!!!!

  19. Rose Fasthorse says:

    I am alarmed and not surprised about this news. At Central Consolidated School District (CCSD) up in the northwest part of New Mexico, my best friend retired because of the teacher evaluations that Skandera has pushed on the school districts. Please include CCSD retirements and resignations to your research.

  20. Our NM governor and Hannah announced today that they are going to give a 10% raise to first year teachers (starting salary) and inflict merit pay on the rest of us. This demoralizing event will cause even more teachers to leave.

    • Laura, can you cite your source? I’m thinking of leaving!

    • I have an interview with APS in June but I don’t know if I even want to go!

      • indagila says:

        Well Lee, I would think long and hard on it!
        But, having said that, Las Cruses and APS has far more and better resources generally. If you go to most of the rural areas of New Mexico it gets pretty awful grim , except in the north eastern cowcountry. Different grade of people, almost TexOkcan’s.
        If you are anglo and a woman, best to stay out of Deming, Lordsberg, Silver City, Bayard, Hatch and others in those locals, as you will be treated as worm dirt.
        If you do come, have a lawyer. The Unions are worthless and self interested. Many here, including Miss. Judy have left the union and found that they DO have another place for five hundred dollars a year.
        Also expect to find incompetence and nepotism at insane levels.
        Lastly, remember that in “The Beautiful Land of Entrapment” there are two offical state questions. The first is “Red or Green?” the second is “Wha Happen?”

Trackbacks

  1. […] is a link to this article: http://atthechalkface.com/2013/12/12/teachers-fleeing-new-mexico-districts/, plus another one reinforcing the argument from an Albuquerque […]

  2. […] throughout this outside interference to stay on point, on task, and do what was best for kids.  Now, teachers are being punished by Skandera’s beloved NMTEACH program for continuing to care about their students, rather than […]

  3. […] like “accountability” and assume this will allow districts to recognize effective teachers and eliminate ineffective ones. Of course they assume this because Susana Martinez, the PED, and Hanna Skandera say this […]

  4. […] Continue reading at @ THE CHALK FACE. […]

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