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'More rigorous intervention' options for failing schools cause concerns

Kasia Gregorczyk
December 06, 2017 10:19 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The Albuquerque Public School district learned Tuesday that three of its failing elementary schools could possibly close for good. Administrators say they learned that news along with the rest of us, but claim the timing hasn't stopped them from being proactive.

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Those three Albuquerque Public Schools are Hawthorne elementary, Whittier Elementary and Los Padillas Elementary. A fourth elementary school is in Dulce.

"The PED announcement was to occur in October, six weeks ago, as per conversations we had with PED. So we've been waiting patiently for the official word," Superintendent Raquel Reedy said at Wednesday night’s APS board meeting.

Reedy did not shy away from her disappointment in the delay of the PED's announcement. However, she pointed out the district has already started work to improve.

"We have spent the summer and this past semester focused on student achievement and growth of all our schools, but with a focus on the schools that we anticipated would be on the PED list," Reedy said.

Those four schools have four options: Reopen as a charter school, turn into a magnet school, significantly restructure the way the school operates including limiting who can teach there, or close. Those schools must make a decision about what to do by Jan. 9. PED referred to this as "more rigorous intervention."

"We've had so much experience with labeling and closing and threatening schools and the entire community. What we've learned from experience, is none of that works. The achievement gap is based on the opportunity gap," said Ellen Bernstein, president of the Albuquerque Teacher Federation.

State Rep. Andres Romero, D-Albuquerque. Romero grew up in the Los Padillas community, attended Los Padillas Elementary, and has family ties to the school. He said seeing the school closure would be upsetting for himself and the entire community.

"I’m deeply saddened and deeply disappointed that the Public Education Department would take the most punitive measures to these schools, instead of providing support and plenty of community support," he said.

Credits

Kasia Gregorczyk

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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