by Bonnie Burn
Bonnie Burn is the past president of LWV of Greater Las Cruces, the leader of their Education Study, author of many of the education reports on www.lwvglc.org website, and architect of the position in its various versions. LWVNM will be considering adopting the position through concurrence at the January board meeting.
EDUCATION POSITION: League of Women Voters of Greater Las Cruces
(1998, 1999, 2012, and 2014)
The League of Women Voters of Greater Las Cruces (LWVGLC) supports public schools as the primary method of educating students, K-12. The League opposes the use of public education funds to support for-profit alternative options for parental choice within the public education system. Further the League believes that education is the corner stone to perpetuating a strong and viable democracy. The public education system should establish as important goals for all students an understanding of the nature of democracy and the responsibilities of citizenship, the ability to think critically, and the acquisition of skills necessary to continue to learn and function as adults in a complex society.
In addition, the LWVGLC supports the following strategies to ensure the greatest possible academic success for all students:
Innovative Practices for Student Success:
The use of accepted national standards for a common core curriculum that provides a uniform body of knowledge and academic skills for all students, accompanied by flexibility for local school systems to determine how this body of knowledge and skills is imparted to students.
Project-based learning focused on developing critical thinking and problem solving skills of students, as well as the use of technology for self-paced learning.
The engagement of local businesses in formalized one-on-one relationships through partnerships with individual schools that benefit student preparation for the workforce.
Business initiatives that offer incentives to encourage students to develop career skills, graduate from high school, and seek work schedules that support student attendance at school.
Early Childhood Education and Community and Parent Involvement:
Collaboration among a broad base of community organizations, social service agencies and the local school system to provide parents with programs to assist their children from birth to age 5 in acquiring the language experiences that prepare them for success in kindergarten and beyond.
Programs that encourage increased parental involvement in the education of their children that are welcoming and inclusive of parents from economically disadvantaged families.
Evaluation of Teachers, Students and School Performance
Student evaluation that focuses on student academic progress rather than rigid standards of proficiency.
Student testing to be used for the purpose of enabling teachers to create timely teaching strategies for the best possible student academic achievement outcomes.
Teacher performance evaluations that demonstrate the teacher’s in-depth knowledge in core academic subjects and pedagogy.
Evaluation of teachers based on achievement of the goals in their performance evaluation plan, significant classroom observations, and some consideration of the overall student academic progress in their classroom.
Termination of teachers and principals using a due process procedure when they no longer meet minimum standards.
Finances and Funding
A state budget process that considers public education as the highest funding priority.
A funding formula that provides for a high quality education for all students that is consistently and fairly applied across the state.
Funding of programs that foster children’s language development, from birth to age 5, for success in kindergarten and beyond.
Full funding of all state and federal mandates, so as not to place an undue burden on the local school system.
The League recommends that the assessment of the performance of schools and of teachers be based on multiple factors that indicate not only the overall quality of the education provided to the students, but also improvements in student academic growth measured through multiple methods, not solely through standardized tests.
Update Approved December 4, 2014 by Board of Directors, League of Women Voters of Greater Las Cruces
P.O. Box 8322 – Las Cruces, NM 88006-8322
Tel: (575) 524-VOTE (8683) – Web Site: www.lwvglc.org