#4 – Governor Martinez attempts to cut “evolution” and “climate change” from textbooks
This one hits particularly close to home, as our state’s young people are the root of the positive changes we should expect and hope for in the state we love. In September of last year, while legislators again tried to incorporate Next Generation Science Standards to improve educational outcomes for students across the state, the Governor released her own version of the standards, ignoring common sense, national education best practices, and the will of educators and parents in every corner of New Mexico.
As the state’s brain drain continues to be felt across industry lines, and as we struggle to support a young workforce to meet and create demands for 21st-century jobs, this move by our Governor felt like a new low. The good news is that the people of New Mexico were having none of it. Despite a short comment period, people who know and care about education mobilized in a way that we don’t often see, sending a clear message to the fourth floor of the Roundhouse: “Our kids matter more than your political movidas.”
Also worth mentioning in the same breath, the current Secretary of the Public Education Department, Christopher Ruszkowski, who started the month before the Governor’s standards were introduced, is an appointment that the Governor should not be permitted to live down. The previous appointment, Hanna Skandera, whose brash, over-testing, corporations over teachers, view found her waiting a long time to be confirmed, would seem to many to be a welcome breath of fresh air now.
In the appointment of Ruszkowski, Governor Martinez doubled down in what her hopes were for Skandera, and the result shouldn’t be surprising. Most recently, Ruszkowski is taking heat for alluding to the racist term “Manifest Destiny” in his defense of wanting to close down low-performing public schools. You really know how to pick ‘em, Governor.