In an article released today by the Albuquerque Journal, Christopher Ruszkowski was given the permanent position of New Mexico Secretary of Education. For the past few months, he has been the Acting Secretary in the wake of Hanna Skandera’s resignation last Spring. Of course, like in Delaware, the New Mexico Senate will have to confirm him. According to the article, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez may have been infected by the same bug former Delaware Governor Jack Markell had while he was in office:
“I’m confident that Christopher will bring the energy, enthusiasm and leadership needed to help New Mexico’s students succeed in the classroom,” Martinez said. “It won’t be easy. There are entrenched special interest groups in New Mexico that are dedicated to maintaining the status quo in education.”
As for Ruszkowski, he seems to still be stuck in the Race To The Top era where standardized test scores and grades for schools will lift our public schools out of their depths of misery:
Ruszkowski and the governor believe that state reforms like PARCC, school grades and teacher evaluations are driving improvement, such as a record high 71 percent graduation rate and increasing numbers of A and B schools.
Yawn… apparently Surfer Boy hasn’t learned much… His comments were not ignored by the President of the New Mexico American Federation of Teachers though:
Stephanie Ly, president of the American Federation of Teachers New Mexico, said the state deserves “better than the lazy reformist sound bites of Christopher Ruszkowski.”
But the bit about Ruskowski’s extensive teaching career says it all…
Born in Chicago, Ruszkowski spent three years teaching in Miami and Boston schools through Teach for America, then received a master’s degree in education policy from Stanford University.
Yes, three years working for TFA seems to be all the experience you need to lead a state in education policy these days. I weep for the future…
A tip of the hat to Matt Albright from the News Journal for sending out the tweet on the Albuquerque Journal’s article on this!
I wrote the following on the Smyrna Clayton Residents Facebook page earlier today. I dared to write a post about teacher attrition at Providence Creek Academy which led to the usual onslaught by parents whose kids either attend the school or used to. Or their HR Director who likes to answer questions with a kernel of truth but when asked about the total number of teachers who have been fired over the summer, she refuses to respond but continues to like comments on the thread. Or the guy who thinks posting memes instead of coming up with his own words lends him some type of credibility and street cred. I’ve learned, when it comes to charter schools in this state, it is easier for parents to ignore lies than to come out of their comfort zone and face the truth. It is sad. In any event, this is what I wrote:
I find it hysterical that so many are more than ready to believe things I write about the state and the Delaware DOE but refuse to accept the fact there could be corruption at the schools their child attends. I get that parents make a choice to send their child to a school their kid attends. I respect that choice. But when I shed some light on things that go on in those schools (usually charters), parents get up in arms and want to say I am off base, or I am wrong, or I have some personal grudge against the leader, or so on and so on. In the meantime, there is ZERO transparency coming from the school about the transgressions, teachers are leaving the school in droves, but as long as THEIR kid is doing okay, all is well. In the meantime, ALL of us are paying taxes for all these schools and no one seems to care that their hard-earned money is being used for personal purchases. Sorry, I will never subscribe to the belief that standardized test scores show whether a kid is getting a good education. I will never support that if any teacher questions anything they are ripe for firing. You come at me from the perspective of a parent, and I get that. But I’m looking at things from a much bigger picture. Sorry if that annoys you, but I guarantee you that if you don’t open your eyes and demand transparency now you will be left holding the bag when it comes to your kids. I am looking out for your kids believe it or not. You don’t have to like my style or approach, but I do ask that you begin to open your eyes that not everything is what it seems.
Last night, parents of Providence Creek Academy students attended an open house at the Clayton charter school. Many were wondering where all the teachers from last year went. Many teachers quit due to the shenanigans involving management at the school. One parent said it looks like 90% of their former teaching staff is gone now. Many parents have wondered what is going on with the school since I wrote some pretty damaging articles last month. It has been very quiet, as if some type of gag order went out. It has become more than obvious that former teachers no longer wanted to put up with what is going on there and opted for better employment elsewhere. As for all these new teachers it is only a matter of time before they realize what they signed up for.
How the state of Delaware can turn a blind eye to this school is beyond me. Once again, I have nothing against the school but rather the leadership, the rubberstamp board, and those that follow the administration with their undying loyalty and subservience. There is something rotten in the foundation of this school but nobody wants to call Chuck and Audrey out on the carpet in full public view. Why? If you quit there is absolutely no reason not to go public. I want to believe former teachers feel PCA was a toxic work environment. That is NOT good for kids. Speak out. Let folks know what is really going on there. This is a school that has seen more turnovers than a Pepperidge Farm store. Parents want consistency at schools, not this. The former “We’re Worried” group appears to be defunct since most of them most likely said screw it and found jobs elsewhere. That doesn’t change the situation on the ground at PCA.
As for all the financial fraud and the cover-up that went on with it, I sincerely hope the State is looking into that. Cause the Delaware Department of Education certainly isn’t. Chuck is obviously good at covering his tracks but there are always bread crumbs. There has still be no formal announcement of formal charges against ex-employee Shanna Simmens. There has to be a reason for that. If it is a case where Chuck and Audrey have that much influence that they are just waiting for the statute of limitations to run out, that is a crying shame. That shows corruption unheard of in this state. I can’t for the life of me figure out why parents would willingly send their children to a school run by such devious and corrupt people.
For those who have reached out to me wanting to know more, I sincerely wish I had more to tell you. I wish our State would do more. But Delaware is proving to be as crooked as they come when it comes to protecting leaders who are in it more for themselves than for the benefit of children. Disgusting…
PCA is having a board meeting next Tuesday evening, August 29th, in their library at 7pm. If I were PCA parents, I would go and demand answers from this Board of Directors, especially Board President Amy Santos. Enough is enough.