Teachers Protest Evaluations
Last week, a number of local teachers stood outside the Albuquerque Public Schools headquarters in protest of the New Mexico Public Education Department's teacher evaluation process. The educators voiced anger and frustration after receiving their annual evaluations, which they say are based on faulty data. The PED uses what they call a “value-added model.” Evaluations are calculated using the following datasets: 5 percent from teacher attendance, 5 percent from student surveys, 40 percent from supervisor observations and 50 percent from standardized test scores—such as the controversial Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC. The ranking system has five tiers: exemplary, highly effective, effective, minimally effective and ineffective. Over 90 percent of teachers in the state fall within the three middle levels. The protesters expressed a distrust in the system, saying it relies too much on standardized testing and not enough on teacher performance. A PED spokesperson told the Albuquerque Journal that all professions have systems of evaluation and that education is no different. This was the second public demonstration against the policy. The first happened in May.
APD Arms Officers with Life-Saving Drug
Thanks to the availability of Naloxone, a drug that can reverse the effects of a narcotic and even reverse an opioid overdose, the Albuquerque Police Department is issuing the nasal spray to officers. The drug is virtually harmless if given to someone who hasn't ingested an opioid, and can legally be carried by anyone. Albuquerque councilor Diane Gibson passed a resolution to equip all APD patrol officers with Naloxone, a policy that is being adopted in other parts of the state as well. Gibson says research has shown that the drug is helpful in the treatment of addiction, as its use often leads to user sobriety. Gibson says she would like to see Naloxone kits installed in public spaces.
UNM Reaches Agreement with DOJ
Following a nearly two-year investigation of the University of New Mexico's responses to sexual assault, the Department of Justice found that students were unsure of how to report sexual harassment and assault, and that the university had failed to comply with federal gender anti-discrimination laws. The report characterized the process of reporting an assault as confusing and described the investigations as unnecessarily lengthy. Last week, the DOJ reached an agreement with UNM officials on how to amend their sexual assault investigation policy. Under the agreement, UNM will be required to update its training and give notice of sexual misconduct policies for all on campus. The agreement also requires the staff to investigate “all allegations of sexual harassment, including allegations of retaliation for reporting sexual harassment” and eliminate hostile environments immediately. UNM has already shown initiative in the process, implementing a more streamlined process for reporting complaints.