No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

The editors of the Albuquerque Journal recently turned their venom on Kathy Korte and Martin Esquivel, two Albuquerque Public School board members whom the Journal editors typically support.

Why the change?

Korte and Esquivel spoke out against the A-F grading system forced on school districts across New Mexico by Governor Susana Martinez and her Education Secretary designate, Hanna Skandera.

Skandera is currently at the center of a scandal over misusing government resources and personnel to benefit Jay McCleskey, who runs Governor Martinez’s political action committee (Susana PAC).

Korte and Esquivel were right to speak out. The A-F grading system is so complicated that Skandera’s own staff can’t explain how it works, to parents or anyone else.

It brands entire schools as failures, mostly in economically depressed areas, based primarily on standardized test scores. These neighborhoods will only remain economically depressed, as families choose not to purchase homes in school districts branded with an  “F.”

The A-F system lumps all teachers and all students together in weighing heavily on teacher evaluations. There is no regard for each teacher’s strengths and weaknesses. There is also no regard for each student’s strengths and weaknesses. The standardized test scores are nearly all that matters in judging performance..

Most importantly, the A-F system does nothing to improve education.

So what does the A-F system do? Over time, it will shut down neighborhood schools.

When neighborhood schools are shut down, Martinez and Skandera with then be able to funnel the thousands of dollars the state spends per child each year to out-of-state corporations based in Virginia and New York, instead of to local schools.

Virtual learning  and testing companies that contributed to Martinez’s campaign are the main beneficiaries of Martinez and Skandera’s A-F grading system.

Teachers, custodians, secretaries, school nurses, and lunch ladies—everyone who works at the local schools— all are at risk of losing their jobs in order to enrich these out-of-state corporations. So what happens to the neighborhoods that rely on the salaries of local school employees to buy cars, houses, and groceries?

Fewer people will be able to build and sell houses, sell cars, work in grocery stores, drive delivery trucks, or fill other essential roles within a functioning community.

New Mexico’s flailing economy will become further depressed, while Virginia and New York thrive off our kids.

Kudos to Korte and Esquivel for standing with the local community, and shame on the Journal editors for embracing the destruction of New Mexico’s economy just to prop up Martinez and Skandera.

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