Regarding the story “High-poverty schools need better teachers, study says,” which the Journal published on Oct. 31, there are two different planets that exist when talking about improving education in New Mexico.
On Planet A, you will find it inhabited by the politicians, the Legislative Finance Committee, the Public Education Department, the Governor’s Mansion, boardrooms, accountants, big money and huge corporate test creators.
Planet A is void of all teachers and has just a minority of students – and those only come in one size.
On Planet A, everything is perfect all the time because the inhabitants of Planet A are blissfully unaware of MATS (mute, alien teachers) that exist on the lower planet.
That would be Planet B.
Planet A exists in a dimension that is unable to see teachers; their classes are staffed by hypotheses.
Planet B is inhabited by teachers.
Does anybody remember teachers? They are the alien beings that actually work in schools.
On Planet B, students are hugely varied, they come in all sizes, languages, abilities and backgrounds. Some students are even homeless, their parents deceased from overdose or incarcerated. There is hunger. Physical hunger is growing on Planet B.
Some students on Planet B even come from being recently released from the county jail and are wearing electronic trackers on their ankles.
Planet B has displaced families, domestic abuse, drug and alcohol use, prescription drug addiction, gang violence and increasing mental health problems.
Apparently, the teachers who live on Planet B are mute, because you never, ever see a teacher’s insight, comments or perspective in anything that Planet A produces.
Planet A exists in a utopia where all children come to school equal from families that would make the Cleavers proud. Planet A employs studies that come out with ideas like “High-poverty schools need better teachers.”
These always sound so brilliant on the front page of our newspapers. How dumb can Planet B be not to have thought of this?
Planet B must get past the punitive evaluations that the MATS now have forced on them. And surely those MATS don’t understand that the children who live on Planet B can be hammered into Planet A’s PowerPoint-child prototypes that will always score well on their high-stakes tests, even if they are hungry, homeless, learning disabled, depressed, do not know English and may be in foster care.
Planet B MATS have not yet figured out that teaching in a low-income school will almost guarantee a poor evaluation since 50 percent of the evaluation is based on high test scores.
We on Planet B wait with baited breath for another study to rain down more all-knowing brilliance on us. We, the MATS of our state, must come to realize that politicians, venture capitalists and corporations from the United Kingdom know best.
Because everyone knows A is better than B, right?