Four schools. Change or die. That is the bully mantra coming out of Chris Ruszkowski’s mouth these days. The former Delaware DOE employee who is now the New Mexico Secretary of Education seems to have taken the Wilmington Priority Schools guidebook and foisted it on New Mexico.
According to the Albuquerque Journal, the four schools, three in Albuquerque, have until January 9th to make their decisions:
• Close the school and enroll students in other area schools that are higher performing.
• Relaunch the school under a charter school operator that has been selected through a rigorous state or local review process.
• “Champion” parents’ option to move their children into higher-performing charter schools, magnet schools, private schools, online learning or homeschooling. This may also include the creation and expansion of state or local school voucher programs.
• Significantly restructure and redesign the school through steps like extending instructional time, changing the staff to include only top-rated educators or adopting state-selected curriculum approaches.
As usual, Ruszkowski fails to understand the reality of inner-city schools, just like he did in Wilmington, DE.
“For Albuquerque, this is a gut check moment,” Ruszkowski said. “Albuquerque talks a lot about equity and access, but when you have kids trapped in a failing school for six straight years, I don’t know what that means for equity and access.”
He questioned why APS hasn’t taken more action to improve these schools on its own, and said he expects the district will make excuses by citing the schools’ poverty rates and demographics.
Poverty is NOT an excuse. It is a reality for these students. Fat cats like Ruszkowski, who has never known poverty a day in his life, will never get that. But this is just the beginning for New Mexico because there are 86 other schools that could be in this position next year.
New Mexico is a PARCC state. The Smarter Balanced Assessment, the test used in Delaware, used to be the state assessment in NM but was changed to PARCC. Same demon, different name. This is like 2014 all over again, only it is in a different state. Ruszkowski’s pals at the Delaware DOE targeted six schools in Wilmington, DE with pretty much the exact same threats. Promised funding either never materialized or was drastically reduced. The state did not live up to what it promised in their forced coercion scenario.
I always assumed Penny Schwinn, the former Delaware accountability chief (now making waves in Texas) was the ringleader behind the Delaware Priority Schools fiasco but it appears now Ruszkowski may have played a heavy hand in that debacle. These fake, charter-loving “leaders” in public education are a destructive force, a wave of anti-matter ripping chaos through school buildings. I’m sorry my state created so many monsters and let them loose on the rest of the country.
In Delaware, two of those priority schools are part of a horrible plan invented by Delaware Governor John Carney’s office and the Christina School District. The Governor wants those schools to consolidate with other schools in the area but he is rushing the district into a decision. Their board voted 5-2 to have the Governor slow his roll. Many in Delaware feel this plan by the Governor is a smoke and mirrors scenario where the district will fight the plan to the point where Carney pulls a fast one and charterizes the schools.
Say some prayers for New Mexico. Putting a guy like Ruszkowski in the driver’s seat of education in a state is tantamount to giving a thief keys to your house. He is a result of Race To The Top, the very worst kind of result.
8 thoughts on “Wrecking Ball Ruszkowski At It Again… Merry Christmas Albuquerque!”
OMG! A state hired him to be their secretary of education??! I am mind boggled……….
I believe you win the race by looking forward, not behind. Payal Kadakia
“Fat cats like Ruszkowski, who has never known poverty a day in his life, will never get that.”
You should do you homework, his parent’s came as Polish immigrants.
He was a teacher with
Teach For America, and taught for two years in the Haitian-American community in Miami-Dade County Public Schools. They don’t make a great deal of money.
If we are not Native American, we are all immigrants. That does not mean we aren’t privileged. Teach for America is resume padding for the privileged.
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You can view it anyway you want. You have an opinion, just like……Point is the guy, worked hard to get where he is. Good for him!
He has a valid point that districts seem to like maintaining the status quo even as their districts continually to deteriorate. CSD has been hemmoraging students and at the bottom of the barrel for test scores but have done nothing to really change.
He (Ruskowski) is eminently unqualified and didn’t earn anything unless you count the time he spent helping Jack Markell polish that corporate welfare apple called “education reform”. His plans are mirror images of the “Priority Schools” bull-crap that Charter School/Chamber of Commerce Governor Markell tried to swindle Delaware with and Ruskowski is incapable of contributing a single lucid idea to improve education for minorities and poor children. TFA is the single most overrated teaching program in America and its resume building spawn who hang around past the required two years (in classrooms) only gravitate toward administrative positions where they can maintain their incompetency level with a fatter paycheck. Before you continue talking out of place other than your mouth go check out the “Tembo” report commissioned by Jackie M. that catalogs the reality that Teach For America is the least successful alternative path to educator quality. Ruskowski was and is one of the least qualified education experts on the planet and once out of Jack’s shadow he had to hide in the thickets of another corporate demagogue state.
Representative John Kowalko
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Just one thing….. New Mexico never used the Smarter Balance assessment. We used to have a state created Standards Based Assessment (SBA) but not the Smarter Balance. When our former secretary (Hanna Skandera) came on board, PARRC was forced on us, likely due to her close ties to the Pearson corporation.