Candidates Criticize Teacher Evaluations
The single Republican and all three Democratic gubernatorial candidates have promised to change the state's current teacher evaluation system—introduced by the Martinez administration—if elected.
Republican Steve Pearce expressed concern over the evaluation system's centralized power structure, saying it disables local school boards. He said the practice of using standardized tests to judge teacher rather than student performance is “backward.”
Democratic candidate Jeff Apodaca, a former media executive, said he would work with state principals, superintendents and community members to develop a new system of teacher evaluations. He expects the changes to be implemented through the Legislature, but said he would institute them through executive order if needed.
State Sen. Joseph Cervantes said he would implement a new system within 100 days of taking office by utilizing executive orders and working on legislation. He told reporters last week that he wishes to see an emphasis placed on classroom learning and student achievement. He also vowed to do away with the current practice of giving public schools a yearly A-F letter grade.
US Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham has said that the current system “punish[es] teachers working with the most vulnerable students.” A representative for her campaign told reporters that she plans to work with lawmakers and education professionals to develop a new system “as quickly as is possible while ensuring quality.”
Student test scores currently make up 35 percent of a teacher's rating under the current evaluation system. The assessments also consider the teacher's attendance, classroom observations and student surveys. The system was implemented by former Public Education Secretary Hanna Skandera in 2012.