State Education Dept. Threatens To Close Dulce Elementary & 3 Other Schools
The New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) has called out Dulce Elementary and three other elementary schools across the state, threatening their closure unless sever intervention is undertaken.
The statement that was released by PED on Tuesday said that the four elementary schools are considered “chronically failing”. In addition to Dulce Elementary, PED listed Hawthrone Elementary and Whittier Elementary in Albuquerque, both of which have received “F” grades under PED’s controversial school grading system for six straight years. Los Padillas Elementary in Albuquerque and Dulce Elementary School in Dulce received “F” grades for five years in a row.
PED’s statement threatened that unless significant restructuring is undertaken, the schools could be closed and students could attend neighboring schools. The Albuquerque schools have many nearby schools for students to attend, but a closure of Dulce is not feasible considering the distance between schools in northern New Mexico. PED also offered the option of closing the school and opening a charter or magnet school in the area.
The American Federation of Teachers and associate organizations reacted strongly to the news.
American Federation of Teachers New Mexico President Stephanie Ly, Albuquerque Educational Assistants Association President Kathy Chavez, and Albuquerque Teachers Federation President Ellen Bernstein released the following statement:
“Yesterday, Secretary-designate Christopher Ruszkowski announced the New Mexico Public Education Department is placing four elementary schools on “rigorous intervention” tracks – three in the Albuquerque Public School district, and one in the Dulce Independent School district.
“It is incredible disheartening that instead of re-doubling efforts to help these four schools, the New Mexico PED has once again chosen to revert to old, worn-out labeling. Instead of making meaningful investments in early interventions for our students, the New Mexico PED has threatened school closures – a tactic that has been proven to destroy communities, and not help students. Instead of working to promote ways to combat pervasive poverty, high levels of student mobility, and other systemic issues, the New Mexico PED has chosen to single out schools based solely on standardized test scores.
“We will work collaboratively with district leadership to ensure no schools are closed and that our teachers and parents will not fear for their students’ educations. We challenge the New Mexico PED and the Secretary-designate to fully embrace meaningful interventions for all of New Mexico’s schools and break away of the status quo approach of blaming and shaming our students, schools, and educators.”