I found this article from today’s Albuquerque Journal fascinating. It was written by 32-year educator Del Hansen. It would seem to me that Mr. Hansen and his ilk are a big part of the problem in New Mexico education.
Hansen spends more than 800 words complaining about parents and our society and how it molds students into what they are. In Hansen’s world, schools have little to no impact over the 12 (or more) years of schooling because if parents don’t do the job, teachers and schools are doomed to fail. Ben Chavis, who I blogged about yesterday, is just one prominent example of an educator who, regardless of society and parents, pushed his students to succeed. I’m not blaming teachers for not always succeeding, but until we have a school system that is designed with success in mind, mediocrity will be the norm.
Said Foster: “Looking back, it’s easy to see why so many Albuquerque kids fail. It’s the attitude out here, and that’s terrible,” says Foster, who says he still visits at least three times a year and is in the process of creating programs to help straighten out troubled teens. “I will do anything to help the kids there. But there’s just kind of this attitude where people accept mediocrity.
Strong stuff, especially to tell your home-town newspaper, but I find his statement compelling and accurate. Until our schools demand excellence and our government’s policies reward (rather than discourage) hard work and individual initiative, New Mexico and its citizens will be achieving far less than they should.