As a graduate of Albuquerque Public Schools, I look back fondly on those teachers who were such a positive influence in my life. I firmly believe that our state has an obligation to ensure that every student has access to a quality education. We do our children and our state a huge disservice when we continue to accept a troubled education system that produces few results. Given the current state of the education system, we must adopt bold reforms that give students, teachers, and parents the tools that provide them with the greatest opportunity for success.
I strongly believe one key to improving our outcomes include putting more resources into the classroom while minimizing administration costs – more money in the classroom means more learning materials, teachers’ aides, and better paid, higher quality teachers. In each of the last 5 years, we have increased classroom spending. During the 2016 session, we passed the largest K-12 education budget in state history. Education funding is at an all-time high.
Another important improvement we made during the last session was to pass legislation limiting unnecessary student testing so that children have more instructional time.
I will also continue to support a robust teacher evaluation system to identify struggling teachers early so they can get the training needed to improve results. Those students who are struggling to read should receive also receive early intervention to bring them up to grade level and should not simply be passed on to the next grade. We cannot continue to set these children up for failure.
Education in New Mexico can and will improve when we start focusing on the impact our current policies have on students and our state and have the courage to adopt meaningful reforms.