Small scale bold changes appear

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By Harold Morgan

Consider this column a memo to New Mexico’s new public education boss, Hanna Skandera.
When thinking about system change, don’t think about reform. The trap is that words mean something. “Reform,” by definition, accepts the current system and proposes betterment by tweaking.
Mere “reform” of our public schools won’t get the job done, Ms. Skandera.
Fortunately, examples of “bold change” (in Gov. Susana Martinez’s slogan) exist in our schools. Three are summarized below, two science programs and a shifting of outlook for teachers:
The St. John’s College Tecolote Group brings teachers from all levels together, the Web site says, for “structured discussion of centrally important texts, thus bringing to life the idea that great books make great teachers. Tecolote aims further to help participants develop their practice of liberal education through their own initiatives and in general to nurture liberal learning at all levels in New Mexico.”
The invitation-only program is free and provides a small support stipend. Demand is high, typically exceeding the 64-person capacity each year, says Keiko Giacona, the project manager. Participation is statewide, but the teachers tend to come from Albuquerque and Santa Fe. “We welcome inquiries,” Giacona says.

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