While I do not have all the answers, I know this: our work is more important than ever. Our students are counting on us–all of us–as a community to come together and find ways to ensure they have access to high quality learning opportunities.
For over a week, this post has been on my mind. I’ve wondered, with each passing update about our ever-changing world, what I should say in this moment. In the end, I decided to be vulnerable and acknowledge that I don’t have the perfect thing to say. I don’t have a magical solution.
We know that New Mexico’s 330,000 public school students are on a three-week break to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and that, in itself, presents great challenges for our students, families, educators and administrators. Now, we must acknowledge that there is a very strong chance the break will be extended, and if we follow the trajectory of other states like Oklahoma and Virginia, there is a real possibility our students will not return to their school buildings for the duration of this academic year.
Since I launched NewMexicoKidsCAN in 2018, you have engaged with us to advocate for strong accountability systems, rigorous 21st century standards and assessments, and equitable and sustainable funding. Each of those priorities has been grounded in our desire to eliminate the achievement gap and to ensure that every student in New Mexico has the academic preparation they needed to achieve their dreams. Over the past week, and for the immediate future, our focus has turned to ensuring that the most basic needs of our students are met. Presently, we are working to ensure that access to food for our most in need students is broadened, by encouraging state leaders to apply for a program included in the most recent stimulus package called the Coronavirus Pandemic EBT.
Alongside the work of meeting the most immediate needs of our students, we are also taking time to plan for the future. Stay tuned, by subscribing to our emails, for important updates about assessment, graduation requirements, online learning resources and much more.
While I do not have all the answers, I know this: our work is more important than ever. Our students are counting on us–all of us–as a community to come together and find ways to ensure they have access to high quality learning opportunities. New Mexico cannot afford to fall further behind, so we must step forward and lead through the uncertainty. I am committed to working through these challenges and I hope I can count on you to join us in the fight. Our kids need us.