While it’s important to point out the shortcomings of public education today – and lay out a path for improvement – it’s just as important to highlight things that are going right in our taxpayer-funded schools so they can be replicated. Here are three recent examples:
• Five years ago, UNM reported its four-year graduation rate – the percentage of students who graduate within four years of their initial enrollment – was a dismal 14.8 percent. This year it has nearly double that. Final figures are not yet available, but interim UNM President Chaouki Abdallah says it will be at least 29.4 percent – the highest since the early ’80s, according to Terry Babbitt, UNM’s vice provost of enrollment and analytics.
One key was ensuring students got more help outside the classroom. That meant revamping UNM’s Center for Academic Program Support, or CAPS, which offers a wide range of services to students struggling to keep their grades – and their spirits – going in the right direction. CAPS offers workshops on basics like note-taking, college reading and time management. There’s also the Writing & Language Center where students can get help drafting essays or practicing foreign languages. And the “Math MaLL,” a computer-centric learning center, helps students working through entry-level math courses.
UNM has had to reallocate resources to get the best return on investment.