SANTA FE (AP) — Gov. Susana Martinez's administration is rejecting a call to postpone A-F grades for more than 800 public schools.
The Las Cruces Sun-News reports (
http://bit.ly/NTWjaA ) that the state Public Education Department said Wednesday the grades will be released within 30 days. "We will not delay and will be releasing school grades in less than a month," said Larry Behrens, a spokesman for the state department.
The announcement comes after State Sen. Howie Morales, D-Silver City, said the grading system needs to be improved and made more understandable before it is launched. He has questioned the accuracy and fairness of the ratings, based on a preliminary round of grades issued in January by the Public Education Department.
Morales said he was disappointed with the administration's stand.
Rep. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, said the grading system was so convoluted that certain schools received better grades than those that outperformed them in math and language tests.
A delay would hurt no one and save school staffs a lot of time and trouble in trying to explain the grading system to parents, she said.
But Paul Aguilar, a deputy secretary of education, said all the grades issued in the preliminary round could be explained and justified with hard data.
Behrens said Morales' call for a postponement was nothing new.
"While we understand the senator has concerns, the parents and students of New Mexico deserve better than delayed accountability," Behrens said. "We heard similar calls for delay in releasing the preliminary grades. Upon their release, one of the biggest celebrations took place in Senator Morales' district."
But Morales said flaws in the grading system may convert some of those high marks into D's or F's, even when school performance does not tail off. He said this occurred in Florida, the state that in many ways was the model for New Mexico's A-F grading system.
The state Legislature in 2011 approved the school grading bill, giving newly elected Martinez a victory she coveted.
She said the federal rating system for schools was filled with impenetrable terms that neither parents nor patrons could understand. But everybody understands an A-F system, the governor said.
Morales was an opponent of the plan all along, saying it is presents too narrow a snapshot of schools.
Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Did you like this article? Vote it up or down! And don't forget to add your comments below!
New Mexico is located in the southwestern region of the U.S. Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, New Mexico has also been part of Imperial Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory.