Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Just a Few Ideas for Educational Reform

State school superintendents and principals should be put on performance contracts which would spell out their job requirements, duties and responsibilities. Standards should be developed based on the income levels, student readiness and teacher experience levels for each school system. Customized minimum standards and annual progress requirements should be set that would be reasonably achievable by each school system individually. Even if AYP is not met schools should be recognized for achievable improvement along the way to AYP standards.

The state secretary of education should be required to perform an annual review of each school superintendent and then each superintendent should be required to perform a review of each principal with the goal to provide clear standards to each school system within the state. Principals would then be required to do annual performance reviews of each teacher in their school system. Overall results of these reviews should be made available to parents.

Superintendents and principals should be given some control over how money from their budgeted funds for supplies and textbooks is spent and be accountable for any failure to supply the needed materials to all of their students.

Classroom teachers should be given an opportunity to help select classroom materials which would support learning and achievement in the school system. Teachers should be actively involved in choosing career development classes and training which would result in more meaningful career development.

A centralized bank of lesson plans and classroom activities should be developed so as to assist new teachers develop these skills. Best practices should be developed statewide and shared so that academic reviews could be carried out to evaluate the central bank for quality and effectiveness.

Mentors should be assigned to every new teacher and a central listing should be developed so that support and material could be shared between teachers. With computer technology it is not unreasonable to think that even small school systems could acquire assistance with mentoring from larger schools systems with more experienced teachers.

Each school’s funding should be determined objectively using a transparent formula with the goal of providing a quality education to every New Mexican student in this state. At the state level support should be supplied so that schools can order material in bulk and then the state would see to it that it is delivered to each institution in a timely manner. A statewide internet system should be developed for standard request from parents such as school transfers and meal assistance forms. It should also have local systems where teachers and parents could use to communicate on grades and behavior.