With just 16 schools in the Central Consolidated School District, there’s no question it is a small one. By comparison, Albuquerque Public Schools has more than 90,000 students and 136 schools.
There’s also no doubt CCSD, like all New Mexico districts, has struggled with student achievement. In 2011, just 39.6 percent of CCSD students scored proficient or higher in math; 44.2 percent were proficient in reading. But the district also has its success stories, with three of its nine elementary schools receiving “A” grades from the Public Education Department.
One adult faction within the district has argued for more than a year to split the district in two, claiming it will improve test scores and acknowledge the needs of students who don’t live on the Navajo reservation. Last week state education chief Hanna Skandera rejected splitting the district. She made the right call.
While this is not to say districts should never be split, simply creating two bureaucracies isn’t cost-effective or focused on improving student achievement. Take a look at Las Vegas and West Las Vegas districts. At best, unnecessary dual districts are geared toward creating jobs for administrators. At worst, they are designed to appease racial/cultural/religious/ideological disagreements of grown-ups involved.
Neither serves taxpayers or students.
And while it’s clear the parents and/or educators involved in CCSD have very different takes on what constitutes a high-quality public education, there are options ranging from home schooling to distance learning to charter schools for those sufficiently unhappy with the status quo.
Unlike the split district proposal, each of those options is geared toward student achievement and fiscal responsibility. And so was Skandera’s decision.
This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.