State Memo Has Some Hobbs Teachers Afraid of Losing Their Jobs

State Memo Has Some Hobbs Teachers Afraid of Losing Their Jobs

Zora Asberry

NewsWest 9

HOBBS, N.M. - The State of New Mexico implemented a new teacher evaluation system that bases 50 percent of the teachers evaluation on their students standardized test scores.

Because of this new system, the Public Education Department of New Mexico released a memo that has some Hobbs ISD Educators afraid that they may lose their jobs.

Superintendent TJ Parks of Hobbs Municipal Schools, said, "The State of New Mexico is undergoing a transformation to the evaluation system. In that evaluation system, 50 percent of that evaluation on a teacher is based on standardized test scores. PED emphasized to the superintendents numerous times that those summative evaluations would not be used for hiring or re-hiring employment purposes."

This new system has raised some concern for school districts, as some believe it's a way for the state to take control of firing educators, But in a statement released by the Public Education Department, said, "Districts still have the power to hire and fire teachers, nothing has changed. The accusation that PED can do so is false."

Based on the new evaluation system, Hobbs Municipal Schools received a memo on a new rule.

"We had received an email from PED that stated regulation that any teacher who is rated ineffective or minimally effective, and if their license was up for renewal, they would not be eligible to renew their license," Parks said.

Despite the memo, the Hobbs Superintendent asked PED to retract the e-mail. Although PED did not retract the email, they sent a second memo stating that districts could ask for a one-year waiver for those who received lower evaluations. 

"It really doesn't help the teachers, it helps them for a year but then they're thrown back in the mix of using a test that is unfounded and that we have no baseline data on," Parks said. 

Parks takes full accountability but wants decisions to be made in a fair manner.

"The superintendents organization and I myself, we support accountability. We certainly want to be held accountable but that accountability has to be accurate and has to be fairly done," Parks said.

The PED is also concerned about accountability issuing a statement that read, "Twice this issue has been brought to court, including the New Mexico Supreme Court, and twice the court has ruled against the union position. New Mexicans we speak with aren't afraid to be held accountable for student learning and it's disappointing that the union feels different," Behrens said.   

"We're hoping legislators will take action and will support our educators in some type of legislation that will overturn the PED's ruling of this," Parks said. 

The Hobbs Superintendent is currently fighting to change this policy by speaking with local legislators and PED Representatives with hopes to have the issue resolved during PED's 60-day legislative session.