A few days ago, I addressed Trustee Vicki Snell in this blog because she wrote some Facebook comments about my consistent criticism of the district’s fiscal irresponsibility and lack of transparency and accountability.

Among other ramblings, she stated my lack of involvement (She also mentioned my participation in a city committee that has nothing to do with schools and I’m not sure why it was relevant, but whatever.)

I guess she forgot that I:

  • Attend most school board meetings – even the special ones they announce at the last minute so no one has time to attend
  • Ran for a school board seat in 2014
  • Was twice elected to the Site Council at a Westside CM school
  • Was an active member of the PTA in every school my kids attended (and was often the only dad present)
  • Was an active booster for two Estancia sports teams while my son was a student there
  • Regularly conduct research into innovations in education
  • Recommended a highly credible, viable superintendent candidate after Jeff Hubbard was fired and before Frederick Navarro was hired (the candidate was never interviewed, never contacted)
  • Started this blog over three years ago with a series of 12 recommendations for academic improvement that had either already been proven to work at the school level, or which showed promise in at least one reputable study
  • Was endorsed by the N-M Federation of Teachers during my campaign
  • And more

Snell also took me to task for not taking a tour of Adams El during the time I was pointing out that the school, which is walking distance from her house, was performing so badly that parents in Mesa Verde were sending their kids elsewhere.

She’s right on that one. I did not take a tour. I did not take a tour because I have taken them before and it is like Bill Murray’s experience in “Groundhog Day” – reliving the same thing over and over: Everything is great, everyone is happy, and the school has its sights set on even better achievement. But apparently it has never occurred to Snell that a trustee taking a school tour is like viewing a home on the day it goes up for sale: It has never looked as good.

So… Let’s take a peek at the academic performance at Adams at this time. According to the recent Smarter Balanced test scores, 45.45% of sixth graders did not meet the standards for English and 76.09% of sixth graders did not meet the standards for math. These are the kids who are being promoted to middle school…

But wait, there’s more!

Unfortunately, the “more” is worse news. Those 2017 figures are worse than 2016. In 2016 at the school down the street from Snell’s home, it was 42% in English and 69% in math. Yes, the school is going backward.

You can see these scores and all the others here: https://caaspp.cde.ca.gov/sb2017/default

If you go to the website, you’re going to see some slight-of-hand by the Calif. Dept. of Education. The scores are broken down into four categories, two of which are “standard not met” and “standard nearly met.” There is no such thing as “nearly met.” That’s like being “almost pregnant.” Either the standards were met, or they weren’t

Snell can criticize me all she wants. All it does is drive more people my blog and give me more stuff to write about. But at the end of the day, this is about improving academic performance so instead of taking time to try to disparage critics, Snell may want to use those moments to come up with at least one public presentation of a new idea.

She may also want to consider an end to those tours because they seem to be a jinx.

Steve Smith
Taxpayer, N-MUSD

P.S. At Estancia, also in her zone, 83% of 11th graders did not meet the standard for math. Just sayin’…