The teachers at Susie Rayos Marmon Elementary on Albuquerque’s West Side are the real-life examples of how education reform should work.
Like most anyone in any profession, they realize they can do their jobs better. But unlike many people in many professions, they are doing something about it.
Enrolling in the three-year National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification program isn’t about punishment. It isn’t about devaluing teachers or embracing the status quo. It’s about understanding that when the state gives your school a “D” and a “C” under the new grading system, perhaps you can and should do better. And that means “you really do have to look at your students, where they are and where you want them to be. You’re up there teaching and you think, ‘They’re getting it. They’re getting it.’ But when you actually have to look to see if they’re getting it, there are some things in the canned curriculum that we’re supposed to teach that they don’t get. So you have to go outside that to figure out how to teach children what they really need to know so that they are learning.”
That profound statement is from head special education teacher Adriana Kerr, who didn’t make it through the program the first time but is dedicated and self-aware enough to realize it’s important to her students that she try again. That’s an example of a lifelong learner — what every good and great teacher wants her/his students to become.
Just 3 percent of the teachers around the country — and in New Mexico — have full board certification, most likely in part because the program costs $3,000. But an Arizona State University study shows it pays dividends; students of certified teachers gain the equivalent of an extra month of school.
Susie Rayos Marmon is piloting the program and found scholarship money so four teachers can go through the entire process and eight can tackle the first portion.
That’s 12 educators, committed to doing better by their students, who will touch 25-plus lives every year they are in a classroom and who want a better grade for their school. And that’s an equation that will add up for New Mexico.
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.