New Mexico has one of the lowest ranked education systems in the U.S., for both teachers and students, according to Wallet Hub.
On top of public education being an already low paying job, the state is reportedly one of the worst states to teach in, sitting at an overall ranking of 41 as of September 2018, and ranked as having the overall worst school systems, according to a Wallet Hub study with data fromthe U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Education Association, and National Center for Education Statistics.
What makes teaching in New Mexico so bad?
According to Portales High School choir teacher James Golden, it’s the hoops that teachers have to jump through.
“For the first few years that Hannah Skandera was in office, 50 percent of my evaluation was based on how my students tested on the PARCC (state test) in reading and math, two subjects that I have zero control over,” said Golden. “I had choirs that were receiving superior ratings on stage, best in class award, and state championships, but I was still deemed a ‘minimally effective’ teacher by the state.”
Golden added that even though there has been some improvement in recent years, most administrators and teachers don’t want to stand up to the evaluation system.
“More often than not, our administrators tell us not to put too much stock in what (the evaluation) tells us,” Golden said.
According to Golden, the pay is also a serious issue that may be driving teachers out of state.
Golden said that in his seven years teaching, the salaries of New Mexico teachers have been far lower than those in the surrounding states.
“I don’t think [salaries] are where they need to be in comparison to the amount of work we have to do and what we have to put up with,” said Golden.
New Mexico is currently facing a shortage of teachers across the state, with Albuquerque looking to fill 316 education positions, according to a November 2018 article in the Albuquerque Journal.
Eastern New Mexico University elementary school special education major Kylie Colvill said she isn’t planning on staying in New Mexico very long after she graduates in 2021.
“I’m going to move to New England to teach.” Colvill said.
The salary and treatment of teachers in New England played a role in her decision, Colvill said.
The New Mexico Public Education Department declined to comment to The Chase about the teacher shortage, stating that the issue is “behind closed doors” for now.