Cover, April 9: “Education Exodus”

Rotten Core

I just want to say thank you for the great, timely and devastating piece on

the professional environment of public school teachers here and everywhere—a situation that is an effect of the corporatization of American education. This is what happens when you hire CEOs and administrators—people who have never taught in a classroom themselves—to run school systems and to dictate everything in terms of “outcome assessments,” as if the education of young human beings was a quantifiable checklist, rather than experiential, relational and humanist. 

This nationwide plague of “Common Core” requirements and documentation and testing is degrading American school systems everywhere, intellectually and emotionally, driving all the idealistic and talented teachers out, and it is only getting worse.

The only ones who can stop it, probably, are teachers who will organize and make a stink or more likely, protesting parents. Public school teachers are among the most undervalued and underrewarded professional classes in this country. It’s bad news. Thank you for bringing it into the open. 

Tony Hoagland

Santa Fe

Home Schoolin’

What is old is new again. My child is now 27, living in California after graduating from UC Davis. She is doing exceptionally well in spite of New Mexico’s educational system. My recommendation for making sure that your child gets a great education: home school! But not in the isolationist sense: Do it in groups. Kids are very social and need other kids, and they learn better in groups. It can be a great adventure to take with your child.

Home schoolers are given access to the gym and other school facilities on a set weekly basis. You can find and use exceptional educational teaching resources for free that were samples to the schools for every grade level and given away by the school system at some back door somewhere in the

system. There is a network of home schoolers out there—find them. They are doing great things. If your child no longer wants to go to school, they may be right. It is up to the parents to lead and allow the kids to learn.

As a taxpayer, I feel that the school buildings should be more available for use by the community. I am saddened for the teachers stuck in the system, but I feel incapable to liberate them or change the system. A longer article is needed to cover the subject completely. A big thank you to all of the teachers.

Lynn Allen

Failing Tests

An excellent article. A big thank you to all of the teachers (not former—once a teacher...) who shared. Their situations demonstrate pretty well the overwhelming extraneous requirements leading to angst and disappointment at the hearts of most who have to quit. I believe Joey Peters would have also liked to have interviewed more current teachers, but there are reasons why no one quoted (except me) is planning to be teaching next year.

What we must understand in order to understand the mandates behind this crisis is that everything now happening in education is success for the plans of testing, textbook and remote-learning corporations, as well as private-school advocates. The only desired success is the multi-billion dollar profits of the aforementioned businesses. The terrible test results generated by these tests leads to horrible ratings first via No Child Left Behind and most lately here, the horrendous A-F letter grading system. These ratings lead to widespread discussions about the “failure” of so many schools, and the worse the perception of public schools by the tax-paying public, the more willing they are to shut down schools and have those children taught by for-profit entities. Great success overall—except to the vast majority of our citizens who depend on public education.

I’ve written many times about the misuse of the test results--—and the complete failure of all these plans to meet testing integrity standards—i.e., use tests for the reasons they were designed, not to judge the teacher. But there’s so much more to all of this.The entire industry has led people to completely forget the real value of a good education—public education for all—and to produce an educated electorate.

Bernice Garcia-Baca

Dirty Money

I agreed to be interviewed because I think this is an important issue in New Mexico and because I think Joey Peters is a good journalist. I have a couple of things to add, as Joey had to condense our interview.

I am not happy with the American Federation of Teachers union because of their support of Common Core. What was left out was the part that really pisses me off is they have cashed $10 million from Bill Gates Foundation alone since 2009. If they have millions in funds from whom I consider the problem, then they do not need my dues.

The reasons are many stated throughout the article why I am leaving. Over standardized testing, the corporatization of education by politicians and an unfair evaluation are the main reasons. One aspect of the evaluation I wish Peters had stated in the article is the VAM part of teacher evaluation. The Value Added Model is considered an invalid way to evaluate any profession, according to the Department of Mathematics of Stanford University, but the Public Education Department chooses this to evaluate educators in New Mexico. It is simply a BS system. 

Neil Meharg

News, April 9: “Water Runs in Quail Run”

Answers Wanted

Kudos to Justin Horwath and Robin Laughlin on their timely article regarding Quail Run water. It should also be noted, however, that of the 265 homeowners listed, the majority don’t live here year-round, thus making the water usage data even more disturbing.What we must understand, in order: Many of us, as residents at Quail Run, have been urging the board to implement long-term, sustainable programs in water conservation. While these suggestions have been made repeatedly (to the board and management) they go mostly unheeded. Yet, we still remain hopeful that positive changes will be made in the near future.

Michael Gzaskow Santa Fe

Cover, April 2: “I Saw it on Facebook, it Must be True”

Source of Doubt

You asked a weatherman for your  “research and fact checking” regarding chemtrails, emissions from jet aircraft that result in the sky becoming hazy. How does understanding on how you can see your breath on a cold day make the weather man an expert regarding combustion and exhaust from jet aircraft? As an aerospace engineer, it is my opinion that the type of contrails refereed to as chemtrails is not analogous to seeing your breath on a cold day. True, normal contrails are formed by hot (humid) air. But they dissipate quickly, as your breath does on a cold day. Chemtrails, however, are the result of other pollutants, pollutants that cause the sky to become hazy for hours. The haze formed by chemtrails behaves like air pollution that is particulate-based and sometimes includes oils. I did not bother to read the rest of your article which discusses other “scientific” questions. You lost all credibility. Too bad. Maybe you had something helpful to say that was based on science. Or maybe you just asked the weatherman. 

Daniel Stih

Wake Up

Gwyneth Doland said that chemtrails didn’t exist as chemical pollution intended to biochemically alter the population. It’s online that Bill Gates is one of the funders for this attempt to control and sicken us. Take a look at the sky right now: chemtrails all over Santa Fe area. The water trough for my animals is coated with a white powdery substance that is clearly not usual here. It happens only with chemtrails in the sky. If SFR is going to market itself as an alternative watchdog paper, do your research. Wake up!

Margaret Henkels 

Santa Fe 

Opinion, Feb. 19: “Self Identity”

In Defense of Jess

In response to the rather horrid letter by a Linda Chavez, I would like to defend Jess Clark and his ability to self-identify as he pleases. In my opinion, the backlash against transgender people in our country should be a thing of the past. Unfortunately, it seems that this cruel and outdated thinking is still present in Ms. Chavez. Frankly, it was her response that was a “load of bull.”Jess Clark has visited our classroom numerous times and is a great asset to the community, especially the youth. Injustice toward transgender people should never be brought upon a person again, especially one as wonderful as Jess Clark.

Acacia Burnham, 8th Grade

Santa Fe

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