Commentary: Albuquerque – American Federation of Teachers New Mexico President Stephanie Ly released the following statement:
“The approval of New Mexico’s state educational plan under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act by US Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is incredibly disheartening news for public educators across our state, and will impact our students on a deep level in their schools and communities.
“Instead of using new federal flexibility to enact positive changes within New Mexico’s public schools, Interim Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski chose to double down on previous Skandera-era policies like high-stakes testing, school grading schemes, and other programs which create clear winners and losers among New Mexico’s public school districts. Educators across New Mexico had hoped the departure of Hannah Skandera would usher at least minimal positive changes to our state of education, however this plan, instead, opts to enshrine the status quo in New Mexico.
“As early as last summer, then Deputy Secretary Ruszkowski said New Mexico’s plan would be a ‘easy lift,’ showing that the New Mexico Public Education Department had no intention to use the new federal law’s flexibility for the benefit of our students, and makes the NM PED’s oft-touted public forums seem more like window dressing, rather than real opportunities for stakeholder input.
“This now-approved plan is intellectually lazy, and instead of taking the ‘easy’ way out, Interim Secretary Ruszkowski should have made a bold pivot from the failed legacy of Hannah Skandera in order to truly support our students, help education professionals excel in their field, and incorporate meaningful reforms within our communities.”