New Mexico Is “At It Again” | VAMboozled!

New Mexico Is “At It Again”

 From VAMboozled! A blog by Audrey Amrein-Beardsley

Posted: 19 Sep 2016

“A Concerned New Mexico Parent” sent me yet another blog entry for you all to stay apprised of the ongoing “situation” in New Mexico and the continuous escapades of the New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED). See “A Concerned New Mexico Parent’s” prior posts here, here, and here, but in this one (s)he writes what follows:

Well, the NMPED is at it again.

They just released the teacher evaluation results for the 2015-2016 school year. And, the report and media press releases are a something.

Readers of this blog are familiar with my earlier documentation of the myriad varieties of scoring formulas used by New Mexico to evaluate its teachers. If I recall, I found something like 200 variations in scoring formulas [see his/her prior post on this here with an actual variation count at n=217].

However, a recent article published in the Albuquerque Journal indicates that, now according to the NMPED, “only three types of test scores are [being] used in the calculation: Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers [PARCC], end-of-course exams, and the [state’s new] Istation literacy test.” [Recall from another article released last January that New Mexico’s Secretary of Education Hanna Skandera is also the head of the governing board for the PARCC test].

Further, the Albuquerque Journal article author reports that the “PED also altered the way it classifies teachers, dropping from 107 options to three. Previously, the system incorporated many combinations of criteria such as a teacher’s years in the classroom and the type of standardized test they administer.”

The new state-wide evaluation plan is also available in more detail here. Although I should also add that there has been no published notification of the radical changes in this plan. It was just simply and quietly posted on NMPED’s public website.

Important to note, though, is that for Group B teachers (all levels), the many variations documented previously have all been replaced by end-of-course (EOC) exams. Also note that for Group A teachers (all levels) the percentage assigned to the PARCC test has been reduced from 50% to 35%. (Oh, how the mighty have fallen …). The remaining 15% of the Group A score is to be composed of EOC exam scores.

There are only two small problems with this NMPED simplification…

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Rick Snyder Must Think He’s Exempt From IRS Regulations – From Fix the mitten blog

Fix the Mitten

DO THE IRS REGULATIONS APPLY TO GOVERNOR RICK SNYDER AND HIS 501(c)(4) ORGANIZATION?

Nick Krieger (@nckrieger):

Governor Rick Snyder has funded candidate-specific television ads that will run in six state house districts this fall. The ads are funded through his 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organization.

Federal law provides that a 501(c)(4) organization must be “operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare.” 20 U.S.C. § 501(c)(4)(A). In turn, the IRS regulations promulgated under § 501(c) provide that “[t]he promotion of social welfare does not include direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.” 26 C.F.R. § 1.501(c)(4)-1(a)(2)(ii).

I know that Snyder’s organization has characterized its TV commercials as “issue ads.” Further, I realize that the ads do not specifically ask viewers to “vote for” the featured candidates. However, wouldn’t most reasonable people conclude that these candidate-specific ads, broadcast only 50 days before the general election, constitute “indirect . . . intervention . . . on behalf of . . . [a] candidate for public office”? And if so, isn’t Snyder violating the spirit of the law?

It’s just something to think about.

Source: Rick Snyder Must Think He’s Exempt From IRS Regulations – Fix the mitten