A reader replied to my last, rather negative, post asking if there was anything I actually liked about the Albuquerque Public Schools. One word led to another, and I might as well just largely reprint it here.
The honest truth is that there at least one million things I love about APS. Perhaps a small hyperbole, but the number of great things is much larger than a parent might think going into this thing.
In fact, if one were to observe "the District" only at its teacher/student interface, the observer might not understand what all the negative press is about.
There are great teachers at all levels (elementary/middle/high), fantastic innovative programs, well-funded classrooms with lots of amenities (my classroom would be an example), and hard-working folks in all aspects of the educational process.
And then there's the not so great of all of the above. A parent and son/daughter need to realize that and work accordingly. Contacting trusted teachers and other school folks can pay big dividends there, as well as keeping communication up with parents who avoid blanket "APS sucks" statements, and can focus on that teacher/student relationship.
On top of that there's the experience beyond that teacher/student classroom situation. I can't speak to exactly why, but something just seems lost outside/beyond the classroom here. A disconnect of some sort exists.
And the great thing is that there are plenty of teachers who ignore that disconnect, kids who ignore it as well and press on despite what folks may say about their schools, and supporting players (parents, etc.) who help make the individual educational experience for many APS students truly remarkable.
My small piece of advice to you would be to focus on the individual classroom(s). Ignore the outside noise and if the teacher and classroom are good, the rest just doesn't matter. Not really. Regardless of how many times I complain about it here.
At times of talking big, I catch myself saying to my classes "we offer private school service at public school prices". But the truth is I believe that. Really.
P.S.: The APS middle school lunch today was little convenience store burritos in that convenience store plastic wrap...and pizza. We're four for four this year on the pizza. Pizza's batting 1.000.