Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Just One of Those Comments That Got Out of Hand

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.


Haley said...

thanks Scott! so true about tuning out the noise...
p.s. what is up with the pizza???

ched macquigg said...

I hadn't thought of it in those terms before, but you're absolutely right; there are two educational systems, the educational interface, and everything behind the interface.

The most important things in education go on at the interface, but everything that goes on behind the interface cannot be ignored. I would suggest that most of the people who quit teaching, don't quit because of what goes on in their classrooms, but instead, because of what goes on beyond it.

Anonymous said...

There is much to like about APS. I say this as an APS graduate (7th grade to 12th), 20-year teacher, and parent of two students in APS schools.

It's far from perfect. The higher up you go in administration, the weaker things become, but, at the classroom level, there is much to make one proud.

I've given up with the big-picture stuff; I worry about the things I can control. I also have gotten my children transfers to schools that will serve them well. Again, I pick my battles wisely--I hope--at my children's schools.