Education concerns aired to study committee

By Emily Crowe

CMI staff writer

ecrowe@cnjonline.com

Clovis Municipal Schools officials went to bat for New Mexico public schools before a group of state legislators Wednesday.

CMI staff photo: Emily Crowe Clovis Municipal Schools Superintendent Terry Myers, second from left, addressed the Legislative Education Study Committee Wednesday at W.D. Gattis Middle School, along with other members of the district’s administration department.

CMI staff photo: Emily Crowe
Clovis Municipal Schools Superintendent Terry Myers, second from left, addressed the Legislative Education Study Committee Wednesday at W.D. Gattis Middle School, along with other members of the district’s administration department.

The state’s Legislative Education Study Committee brought its meeting to Clovis this week, and CMS Superintendent Terry Myers let senators and representatives know that he is concerned about the Public Education Department’s implementation of several new policies and initiatives.

“I don’t feel like I’ve been listened to,” he said. “In fact, I don’t think superintendents in general in the state have been listened to.”

Myers spoke in hopes of garnering committee member support to help slow down the implementation of a new teacher/principal evaluation system among changes already occurring statewide with a new A-F school grading system and the continued transition to common core instructional standards.

According to Myers, the new staff evaluation system is not ready to be rolled out because of inadequate preparation and training for school staff.

“It’s not that I don’t support it. It’s not that we don’t believe it’s a good idea,” he said. “It’s just that in the midst of everything that’s going on, we don’t need to be trying to do this.”

Myers also shared the need for better and more timely communication from the PED.

“It is not unusual for us to get directives coming to us from PED that give us about a week’s notice before we’re supposed to go to training in Albuquerque or Santa Fe,” he said. “We can’t drop what we’re doing and run to the training at anyone’s whim.”

When Rep. Bob Wooley, R-Roswell, asked several superintendents watching from the audience if they agreed with Myers’ assessment of the issues facing school districts, all of them raised their hands and nodded in agreement.

Myers and several CMS administrators fielded questions from legislators, who largely agreed that there are issues with the way new programs are being rolled out.

“Even the best idea rolled out poorly is going to fail,” said Sen. John Sapien, committee chairman. “And I don’t want our kids to fail”

Sapien closed the session by asking committee members to put aside personal politics and the fear of political retribution to speak louder and with force to support educators in getting things slowed down.

In a phone interview after the meeting, New Mexico Secretary of Education Hanna Skandera responsed to Myers’ concerns.

She said her bottom line, as well as the state’s bottom line, is that a delay in implementing changes would mean a setback for students.

“All evaluations are doing is evaluating how we’re doing and giving us insight on how we can do better,” she said. “All we’re doing is capturing how well we’re knocking it out of the park. That should not be an inconvenience to anyone.”

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