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Expectations critical in student success in school

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As New Mexicans look forward to another school year in 2014-2015, what are our expectations? Did New Mexicans at one time have the highest aspirations for a high quality education for all students?

What is the current status of education in New Mexico? Little has changed since 2010. The achievement gap continues, with Hispanics, Native Americans and African Americans behind 20 to 35 points.

The most common conversation is to see who is in charge. Is it the Public Education Department, teacher organizations or school districts and superintendents? Parents of the 320,000 students, where are you?

All of us are still looking at school grades, teacher evaluations and student performance. Charters have not provided an added-value for the students who have made the change.

In 2014 New Mexicans are looking for a better educational program for all students. What are your expectations of the educational bureaucracy?

Throughout the state in 2013, 332 schools received A’s and B’s while 323 schools earned D’s and F’s. In Albuquerque, 61 earned A’s and B’s and 65 received D’s and F’s. Please, not at the bottom again.

The key word for all of us but especially for the classroom teacher is teacher expectations. What do teachers expect of the students in their classes? Are the expectations the same at Eldorado and West Mesa?

As an assignment, visit the two high schools listed above and observe the same course being taught. Visit a U.S. history class and observe what is expected of the student at each school.

The empirical literature on educational aspirations and expectations is substantial. Aspirations involve desires and expectations is an anticipation of attainment.

As an example, a student aspires to become a lawyer but because of teacher expectation – and sometimes parents – the student may think that he/she will only work for the city. All students and parents initially have high aspirations and expectations.

What would be a recommendation for schools and teachers?

First, develop training and staff development on the issues of aspirations and expectations. As per the common core curriculum what are the expectations that teachers have for all their students?

Assess every teacher and school in Albuquerque Public Schools. That would be approximately 6,500 teachers and about 90,000 students.

As a starting point do an “expectation assessment” of all high schools in the district. Review the current test students take and rank the 13 high schools.

Finally, with the data in hand, focus on the schools and students most in need of improvement.

New Mexico’s Public Education Department might be happy that there has been an improvement this year. Thank you Mississippi. You are now 50th and we are 49th!

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