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Editorial: Academic master plan a master stroke of reform

There’s nothing like having a fresh set of eyes focus on a challenge.

That’s nowhere more apparent than the result of having interim Albuquerque Public Schools Superintendent Brad Winter look at the district’s academic challenges. For years Winter oversaw APS’ capital program.

And just as he worked for policies designed to bring accountability and transparency to that endeavor – matching revenues to projects while removing politics from the equation by requiring work follow the district’s master plan – he is now proposing a similar approach to the district’s academic investments.

Winter’s proposed APS academic master plan would span five years, outline programs to be put in place, and most importantly, mandate an evaluation of how successful each program is.

Or isn’t.

Focus areas include reducing truancy, increasing technology, advancing the ways teachers can use data to improve instruction and making sure graduates are ready for college. All have students’ academic achievement at their core, and all are valid areas for APS to focus its energies and the public’s tax dollars on. Winter says that the plan and program evaluations should justify the money spent on programs, and those that don’t produce results should be scrapped.

Having a five-year academic plan with performance evaluations promises to keep the district moving forward toward improved student achievement. It should also limit the education reform du jour in favor of results-driven programs that deliver better classroom results.

While Winter plans to leave APS after the district hires a new permanent superintendent, his academic plan promises to give his successor a better place to start.

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.