SANTA FE (KRQE) - A bill before the Senate Education Committee could require all public schools to receive an annual letter grade of A, B, C, D or F.
"We will be identifying low-performing students," said Asbill. "And we will be directing our resources to where those students are to improve student achievement."
The idea is one of Gov. Susana Martinez's key education reforms. Public Education Secretary-designate Hanna Skandera said the rankings will clearly show parents whether their child's school is making the grade.
"Everyone knows what an A, B, C, D or F means," said Skandera. "Not everyone knows what ‘Restructuring 1, 2 or 3' means."
Skandera also said the proposal would allow the state to help struggling schools earlier.
"The school grading bills allow for intervention in a failing school after two years," said Skandera. "That's fundamentally important."
Currently, under federal No Child Left Behind laws, the state intervenes after five years, which Skandera said is too long.
But critics said assigning grades based off of standardized test scores does not serve New Mexico students.
"We learned with No Child Left Behind by putting high stakes on tests, we saw, across the nation, curriculum gets narrowed," said Ellen Bernstein, president of the Albuquerque Teachers' Federation. "Students don't get a well-rounded education."
Despite opposition from some educators, the idea appears to have bipartisan backing.
"It puts the principal on the spot; it puts the school district on the spot," said Sen. Stephen Fischmann , D-Mesilla Park. "But it demands that everyone work together to achieve something."
Schools that maintain an "A" or improve by a full letter grade could also be eligible for monetary rewards. Staff and an advisory council would determine how to use appropriated funds. Asbill said money would not be rewarded for at least another two to three years.
The Senate Education Committee is expected to vote on SB 427 on Wednesday.
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