Battle with Corporate Education Reform Builds in Albuquerque

By New Mexican 1

New Mexico Teacher Evaluation is moving full steam ahead under Education Secretary Designee Hanna Skandera.  After legislation on teacher evaluation failed to pass the legislative process three years in a row, Skandera simply changed the rules.  This has educators, students, parents, community members, and legislators concerned.  A Petition for a Writ of Mandamus was recently filed in district court by Albuquerque Teachers Federation (ATF), state affiliate AFT, and three legislators with a hearing set for November 21.

Albuquerque Public School Board Vice President, Kathy Korte has been very busy lifting the level Albuquerque activism.  Korte began with an online petition asking Governor Susana Martinez (R) to “Stop the NM Public Education Department Corporate Reform Agenda”.  She also launched a Facebook site, Stand4KidsNM that quickly gathered over 2,000 followers.  The partner organization CURE, Citizens United for Real Education, writes that they are “The C.U.R.E. for Common Core in New Mexico”.  Korte also organized a rally that drew near 1,000 people this past Tuesday evening. ATF did not participate in the rally and held its semi-annual membership meeting at the same time.

While many concerned New Mexicans appreciate Korte’s timely efforts, her being married to a political appointee of Governor Martinez, complicates Korte’s organizing efforts and have left some wondering if there is a hidden agenda beneath the sudden activism.  A secret visit to New Mexico by the Koch Brothers and Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan in August and sudden mass mailings from the mysterious NM Competes, a Washington DC 501(C)4, supporting the Martinez education initiatives, have left many New Mexicans leery, to say the least.

New Mexicans are searching for ways to speak out against the building pressures in education.  Albuquerque AFT president, Ellen Bernstein recently wrote a letter discussing what would be necessary for a successful strike.  More recently, hundreds of educators (myself included) have signed a letter requesting Bernstein and ATF State President Stephanie Ly provide union guidance and leadership to address concerns regarding mandated standardized testing, teacher evaluation, and CCSS.   New Mexico educators are urgently requesting a participatory democratic leadership of their teachers unions.

Eyes are on New Mexico as the battle against Corporate Education Reform spreads across the country.

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