Open Letter To NM Secretary Of Education Kurt Steinhaus


I am writing as a concerned parent and teacher regarding your most recent push to extend hours and the school year with the excuse of catching up kids that are 1-2 years behind.  I object to this notion, as it does not serve the best interests of children and their families and appears to be a decision driven by money.  It also does not address the fact that this state has suffered long-term problems in learning due to a poor curriculum.

With all due respect, sir, the children in our district sit in school 7 hours per day and are exhausted.  Adding an additional burden of time to squeeze out more performance will exhaust children.  They are not to be treated like miniature adults working for a corporation.  They need time for rest and play, and summers with their families, some of which are split between families that are divorced.  Further, not all children are behind and should be penalized because some are.  There is a better solution.

Children that are 1-2 years behind should obviously be held back 1-2 grades.  For those not so far behind, offer remedial learning.  It is that simple.  I ask you to stop pushing the extended school year agenda or you will see an even greater reduction in attendance and withdrawal of exhausted students.  I additionally would like to see you address the poor curriculum.  I would be happy to share the curriculum I use for my child in lieu of the public school’s math curriculum (and prior use of the reading curriculum).  It is time tested.  I used it myself, 35 years ago.