AFT NM President Meets with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

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For Immediate Release 9/9/2013 

Contact Stephanie Ly 505-463-4867


Educators seek support for implementing the Common Core State Standards and Building a World Class Education System for New Mexico

AFT New Mexico President Stephanie Ly met with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan this morning during the Secretary’s Southwest tour. In the meeting, she made it clear that our union has a plan to build a world-class education system.

In 2012, NM educators developed a vision and blue print for a NM world-class education system by bringing together experienced educators and using current and relevant research to identify solutions to improve student learning . The vision contains four pillars: Professionalism and Respect, Students as Individuals, The Right to Succeed and Sufficient Funding. “This approach is about using the best research available and the know-how and dedication of educators to equip our schools and students with the resources and programs that will help them be successful in the 21st century.” Says President Ly. “It includes providing early education opportunities and providing students with the resources that they need throughout their education.”

According to President Ly, the Common Core State Standards provide an exciting opportunity for educators and students. Implemented correctly, the Common Core State Standards are about promoting complex and creative thinking skills. However, President Ly expressed grave concerns about mandates from the New Mexico Public Education Department that are making it difficult to implement the Common Core State Standards. To date, only 7,000 out of approx. 25,000 educators have been trained on the new standards. Meanwhile, school districts are focused on managing and confusion and distress caused by the PED’s teacher evaluation rule and struggling with the A-F school grading system.

President Ly told Secretary Duncan that educators have asked New Mexico Secretary-Designate of Education, Hanna Skandera, to delay the high-stakes attached to standardized tests in order to allow educators time to adopt the Common Core State Standards, but Ms. Skandera has declined. “Focusing on the high-stakes instead of the Common Core State Standards is a huge missed opportunity for our state. High-stakes testing has a proven record of doing harm to the well-rounded education that our students deserve.  Parents, community members and business leaders are also outraged that the over-focus on testing is hurting our students and our state.”    

On Friday, September 6, educators also filed a Petition for a Writ of Mandamus in the NM Second Judicial District Court seeking to stop the evaluation rule and claiming that Secretary-Designate Skandera violated her statutory authority.

Something needs to be done to put the focus back on students, learning and New Mexico’s future. Community members, parents and educators are standing up for the kids. We appreciated the opportunity to speak personally with Secretary Duncan and to share with him our vision for building a world-class education system in NM.