(After DeVos donated to her campaigns) Gov. Martinez wrote DeVos letter of recommendation for Trump education job

Michigan billionaire Betsy DeVos, along with family and companies associated with her, donated at least $12,000 to Susana Martinez’s campaign for re-election in 2014.  Fast-forward to 2017 and DeVos became Donald Trump’s surprise nominee to head the US Dept. of Education and Martinez stepped in to help. On January 4, 2017 Gov. Susana Martinez ‘s name appeared on a letter of recommendation for Betsy DeVos published in the Investor’s Business Daily – a magazine for business leaders, not educators. “Betsy DeVos is the right person for the job.”

In first post-Trump elections, progressives sweep school elections helped by record voter turnout

Progressive candidates fought off pro-Trump Tea Party candidates in school board elections around the state, Tuesday. It was the first election test of the newly energized progressive movement in the Trump era. The results are still coming in but the early results are already clear:  this movement isn’t just about resistance in the streets – we’re voting, too! “Voter turnout in Albuquerque was almost double what it was two years ago, and early numbers show that those voters came out for a slate of progressive candidates endorsed by educators unions, progressive elected leaders and community organizations, including ProgressNowNM,” says Pat Davis, executive director of ProgressNowNM. In a sign of progressive voting power:

ProgressNowNM’s Progressive Champions PAC Voter Guide was viewed online more than 25,000 times – 14,511 times in the 7 days preceding the election.

Steve Pearce launches last minute push to take over Albuquerque Public Schools

Rep. Steve Pearce is at it again, this time meddling in the nonpartisan Albuquerque Public Schools and Central New Mexico Community College elections. This week Albuquerque Republicans began receiving a robocall from Pearce instructing them to vote for Republican candidates in their district in the upcoming February 7 election, so Republicans can take back the public school system in Albuquerque. After receiving several tips about the calls, ProgressNow New Mexico’s researchers were able to contact a Republican voter in Albuquerque who did not approve of Pearce’s – whose southern New Mexico Congressional doesn’t cover Albuquerque – intrusion into APS and CNM matters. The calls were traced to Republican Party Headquarters in Albuquerque.  Staff at the party confirmed the calls.

A Recap – Progressive Action Summit 2017

Red River, and Raton, and Farmington, and Hobbs, oh my! People came from near and far on January 7th, for ProgressNow NM’s first ever, Progressive Action Summit. The Summit was a jam packed day of exactly that – action. If you weren’t able to be with us, you might be wondering what happened:

22 Community Organizations: delivered presentations, workshops or panels, concerning and or addressing current and or proposed legislation, while gathering awareness and support around their issue. 22 Elected Officials: gave time out of their day to participate, present, engage with and respond to citizens and leaders from our communities.

New Report: Mo money for prisons means no money for schools

The U.S. Department of Education, Policy and Program Studies Service released a brief examining State and Local Expenditures on Corrections and Education in the last 33 years and the statistics are terrifying. Barbara Petersen, APS Board Member, notes “New Mexico is second only to Texas in the difference between the increase in prison spending to education spending, 668 percentage points difference in the increases in Texas, 602 percentage points difference in the increases in New Mexico.” “Over the last three decades, state and local corrections expenditures has increased three times faster than spending on elementary and secondary education” (p. 5). From 1979 to 2013, New Mexico:

state and local corrections current expenditures and public PK–12 current expenditures had a 602% difference in percent change (p.

Six years of Skandera/Martinez “Bold Education Reform”, NM falls to last in education in US

Five years after Susana Martinez and Hanna Skandera promised New Mexicans they would bring “bold education reform” (see the press release here) to New Mexico, the results are in. In the 2016 Kids Count report released today by NM Voices for Children, New Mexico fell to the bottom of the list – 50th in the nation – in education and child poverty. For more than a decade, Voices for Children and the Annie E. Casey Foundation have tracked various social metrics measuring child wellbeing in every state in the country. While child wellbeing rankings has improved slightly over the past decades, much of that progress has been outshined by other states who have made faster and more impactful progress than New Mexico. Other issues, including access to healthcare, have improved thanks to Medicaid expansion, for example.

Students statewide walkout in protest of new tests. Here’s everything you need to know and the schools where that is happening.

Students across New Mexico are planning to walkout of classes Monday en masse to protest high-stakes standardized testing they say have little or no correlation to curriculum in the classroom but are closely connected to teacher evaluations and place their own graduation opportunities in jeopardy.  And many of these students have support from parents, educators and elected officials statewide. First, take a moment to hear from the students themselves. The anxiety over these tests is palpable. Students in a media arts class at Washington Middle School made a YouTube video that has been making the rounds:

These students explain it better than any policy wonk or bureaucrat so far.

What is PARCC and why do our kids have to take it? Also known as: who gets paid and how much?

New Mexico is in the midst of a high-stakes testing showdown and its not just playing out between politicians in the Roundhouse. You see, every time a student takes a new high-stakes test, an out-of-state company makes a profit. And they are making a lot of profit on New Mexico kids. To catch up on the debate raging (and about to get bigger) around NM testing, here’s what you need to know:

When Susana Martinez took office in 2011, she appointed Jeb Bush’s education chief, Hanna Skandera, to lead New Mexico’s public education department, even though she had never taught a day in a classroom. What Skandera does know about education comes from her time on the board of several organizations which push standardized testing.

School district says parents will “not be discouraged” from opting kids out of new PARCC tests

With all of the confusion over high-stakes testing set to begin the first week of March in New Mexico, it is refreshing to see at least one school district giving parents the facts and the choice to opt them out of testing that turns kids into profit centers. From Ruidoso Municipal Schools Superintendent, Dr. George Bickert:
“parents have always had and will continue to have the parental option to have their child(ren) “opt out” of testing. If you chose to have your child “opt out,” you will not be discouraged in any way by this district, as is your parental right.” Click on the pages to read the full letter sent home to parents. If only every New Mexico school district were so forthcoming.