A mom in New Mexico doesn’t understand why the schools in her state treat her twin sons as failures and refuse to acknowledge their strengths. Is there room in our schools for children who are gifted with their hands and highly skilled at fixing things but not so good at taking standardized tests?


She writes:


I recently retired (forced out, actually) after 30 years in education. I still have three kids in school; one thankfully will graduate this year. She has no desire to go to a traditional college, although extremely capable. She fears it will be too much like high school..She has plans to go to a cosmetology school.


But it’s my twin 14 year old boys I’ve always worried about. Every year on every standardized test they are on the “cusp.” Not proficient, but just barely. Now as they get older and more aware it frustrates them. They are all boy, can operate every power tool in the house, build elaborate shelves, swings, chairs, and recently have convinced their dad to let them “work on” his 1977 pickup that’s been sitting idle for 20 + years.


They are avid hunters, can build a campfire if needed, fix most broken items in the house, and willingly take electronics apart to figure out how they work.


They are in no AP classes because they cannot make the grade. They are in lower level classes with most teachers who have the attitude that they won’t learn much (which they really haven’t because of the teachers attitudes toward them.) They can’t join the robotics team because it’s for Gifted only.


They are super bright, capable, hands-on kind of boys. One has decided that mechanic or welding school is in his future. He has no confidence that he could even make it to college, The other still has aspirations of going to college, but that too is being squelched with his poor performance on PARCC (which, btw, scores were just released to parents –it’s February!)


I am saddened that my own kids have been robbed of developing at their own pace. I too was a late bloomer. My high school teachers never thought I could make it through college. I have an Ed.S. In educational leadership.


How does a parent turn this around?? My husband and I have saved all our lives so we could help our kids through college, but guess what, our educational system, has destroyed that dream.


Thanks, Superintendent Hanna Skandera and Governor Susana Martinez.