Taos teacher quits in a very public way (w/ choice words for Martinez, Skandera on the way out)

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Taos music teacher Ryan Allais is leaving the teaching profession, but not before telling Governor Martinez and her public education secretary exactly how their policies caused one of Taos’ most popular teachers to hate our education system:

Education at the state level is doomed! Good teachers are leaving! I am the current head band and choir director for Taos High School and Taos Middle School. I have been in education four years, here in Taos. I am a Taos native and educated by the fine teachers of Taos. I am writing this letter to explain why I am leaving education…

1d84776One of your writers recently stated “…Ryan Allais may well be Taos’ ‘hardest-working man in classical music.’” This musician has officially burned out! I not only work the job of four teachers but have taken on many community roles as well. I do love my jobs, I still love music, and I am astounded at the support this community and the school district have shown…

Many years of budget cuts from the state, mandated testing, and the ever so controversial evaluation system have led me to the decision to move on. Last year I received an evaluation on minimally effective [sic]. This is due to an apparent lack of attendance, I scored a zero (yet only took one half of a day for illness) as well as student achievement in math and reading scores. Wait a minute … I am not capable to teach music because my students did not do well enough in math and reading?

Because of the low percentage of the “student achievement” category in the state VAM (Value Added Model), I was unable to submit my dossier for a level 2 license. This is not only a brick wall in my education career but also a loss of a $10,000 raise per year. If I continue in education in the future how are other districts going to hire me with a wrongful, “minimally effective” evaluation? Last year, I was unable to have a spring concert in the lack of instructional time due to the multiple, what seems like thousands, of tests administered and mandated by the state.

Education Secretary Hanna Skandera and Gov. Susana Martinez are ruining education and are doing a hell of a job belittling and demoralizing educators, and really good ones too! I guess it must be too many $8,000 pizza parties!

Read Mr. Allais’ full letter, “Why I’m leaving education,” in today’s Taos News here.