ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Our children are back in school, our teachers are back at work, and many “experts” are back to voicing their opinions on the problems in education in America.
We don’t disagree that there is room for improvement and that there are children who are not learning as they should. We also believe open, honest discussions are needed, discussions without special interests more concerned with protecting their turf than with dealing with problems.
On a more basic level, we want each child in our community to get the best possible education now – even before we solve all the problems. We must do what we can today.
This school year is still new, and fresh-faced children are still excited about the coming year. Teachers have made their plans and are striving for success. Those are two of the components necessary for our children’s education; the third is parents. Without every parent making a strong commitment to their child’s education, there is no chance for success. Parents cannot expect education to occur just because they take their kids to school each day. Teachers and children can only be successful with unfailing support from home. From the little things like a consistent bedtime and a good breakfast to the emphasis on learning and reading at home, educators cannot succeed without a home environment that supports them, and good communication between teachers and parents.
Our children are fortunate to attend schools that have been rated so well by the state. Rio Rancho and Cleveland high schools both earned an “A” grade in last year’s state ratings. Both of those schools raised their grades from a “B” to an “A,” Independence High School moved up from a “C” to a “B” and the Cyber Academy improved from a “B” to an “A.” Three cheers for our high school students, teachers, staff – and Rio Rancho Public Schools.
Our elementary and middle schools also did well. All of them made a “B” or “C” with the exception of Maggie Cordova Elementary School, whose lower grade is being contested for apparently valid reasons.
As rank-and-file community members who don’t know all the intricacies associated with school evaluations, we have to go by the scores we are given. And it would appear Rio Rancho is doing well. There is always room for improvement, and we feel certain that school officials are diligently studying the results for ways to improve, but, in the meantime, we can be confident we are sending our kids to good schools.
This summer the district also released information on the demographics of Rio Rancho Public Schools. Some statistics were just interesting; others may cause the school district to adapt to a different dynamic. The worrisome statistics, for us, were the ones indicating an increase in poverty within the district and the increase in the number of students receiving free and reduced-price lunches. Those qualifying for the lunch program increased from 26 percent 10 years ago to almost 46 percent today.
This adds another dimension to the needs of the student population, a dimension that school officials must meet. We support the district’s goal to meet each child’s needs.
As parents and community members, we must do what we can to help. Parents, especially, must be the backbone of their children’s education. That will ensure success.
Contact the Ryans at email@example.com.