Santa Fe, NM —Tim Keller, Senate Majority Whip (D-17- Bernalillo), says he is urging Governor Susana Martinez to place education reform as a topic for consideration during this upcoming legislative session. Specifically, he would like the Governor to reconsider her policies on standardized testing, which now take priority over curriculum. Additionally, 50 percent of teacher evaluations are now based on how well students do on standardized tests. Complaints have also reached lawmakers claiming that credits, which students were told would count towards graduation, are no longer being counted. All of these policies combined have resulted in an accelerating dropout rate, high teacher turnovers across the state and outraged stakeholders.
“I have received hundreds of complaints about over-testing from teachers, parents, students, principals, and concerned New Mexican democrats and republicans,” said Sen. Keller. “My constituents are deeply troubled by the continuing trend of out-of-state, for-profit company’s intrusion into the classroom.”
According to legislators, complaints they’ve received entail that reforms were enforced without input from local stakeholders and many have asked the Public Education Department (PED) to postpone implementation, but have reached dead-ends. Hanna Skandera, PED Secretary, has said publically that PED has no intention of postponing the process. This response has been reiterated regardless of the many pleas her office has received from educational institutions, lawmakers and the public alike.
“It is no secret that our state has serious education challenges that must be addressed, but we owe it to our kids and our future not to pretend that more and more standardized testing is the answer,” Sen. Keller said. “Instead of considering boots on the ground, experienced professionals and parents who are invested in their children’s education to assist in coming up with a beneficial reform, the Governor has used her power to implement a plan that not only factors out local, reputable and important resources, but opens up the door to privatized education.”