This is what I said this morning in the House chambers. There were at least 100 teachers there from all over the state! Hooray for education!
My name is Jeff Tuttle, I’ve taught at Monte Vista in Albuquerque for 22 years, and last year was awarded the Golden Apple. First of all, thank very much to the legislators who have made individual efforts to improve education in New Mexico, such as Representative Stewart and Senator Michael Padilla, and thanks to those who will support their efforts.
The implementation of the current evaluation system has been disastrous for four groups of people in New Mexico. Students and parents have been affected negatively as we have sacrificed smaller classes to pay for the implementation of this system. The current administration cites research that shows that effective teachers can teach to the test in larger classrooms, but the research is deaf to the sound of the gunshots going off around the country, and now in our state. Teachers insist the conversations in smaller classrooms are how students get some human connection, rather than just feeling like cogs in a large, de-humanized machinery. Students who have some connection, some care for themselves and others don’t bring guns to school ready to abandon their own lives and destroy the life of anyone in their way. Class size is vitally important and is the most stated reason why people leave the publics schools, if they can. The business of humanity is the first curriculum of our classrooms.
The third group of people are teachers, who are leaving education or want to leave. In our district retirement is up 55% over this time last year, and there are currently 150 jobs that have vacancies. The additional monetary enticement to come into the field that this administration is proposing, is not sustained after the first year, and will not keep people in education.
The last group for whom this plan is not good are the taxpayers in New Mexico, as millions of dollars pour out of our state to develop the expertise elsewhere. We could even be using this exact same evaluation system, Teachscape uses the Danielson Rubric, but we can use that same rubric for free, on existing internet infrastructure, that works better than Teachscape, such as Google Docs, or other freely available resources. We could then also be building a professional library of lesson plans that could even become open source textbooks, rather than launching our plans and ideas into cyberspace for nobody to ever see again.
Thank you for listening, and thank your for your service to the public.