We are in the sixth week of the 2023 Legislative Session with 23 days remaining. We have major movement on a couple of our priority bills and we need your help! Please read our updates below and participate in our calls to action below.
ACTION NEEDED: SUPPORT OUR LITERACY BILL
Our literacy bill, HB 481, creates funding for districts to use to adopt high-quality instructional materials aligned to the science of reading at no cost to the district.
The bill is scheduled for the House Education Committee tomorrow (Friday, February 23). The committee begins at 8:30am in Room 309. We need your support! Please take a minute to email your legislator and ask them to vote for House Bill 481. Also, if you’re interested in testifying in support of this bill, please reply to this email and let us know.
ACTION NEEDED: OPPOSE CHARTER MORATORIUM
SB 422 acts as a charter school moratorium and shows no support for our incredible charter schools. The bill states that you cannot open a charter school in any district where the current enrollment of charter school students is 10% of the local school district’s population.
The bill is scheduled for the Senate Education Committee tomorrow (Friday, February 23rd). The committee begins at 8:30am in Room 311. If you’re interested in testifying against this bill, please reply to this email and let us know. We would like to fill the room with charter school supporters and show the legislature that we will not stand for these unwarranted attacks on charter schools.
In the meantime, keep up the pressure. Please call and/or email your Senator. Keep in mind, calls are more effective, and they’re easy! Just use our automated service to call your senator’s office (linked in the button below). Their secretary will answer, introduce yourself, and say that you’re calling to request that your senator oppose SB 422.
SENATE BILL 24: SCHOOL REPORTING ON USE OF FEDERAL FUNDS
SB 24, creates reporting requirements for school districts and ensures ESSER funds are monitored, well-spent, and aligned toward improving student outcomes. All school community members deserve to know how districts spend these critical and time-limited federal dollars.
This bill will be heard by the Senate Finance Committee tomorrow (Friday, February 24) at 1:30pm (or after the Senate Floor Session) in Room 322.
HOUSE BILL 126: SCHOOL GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS
HB 126, which changes graduation requirements for students entering 9th grade in the 2024-2025 school year, passed the House of Representatives yesterday with a 64-3 vote and now heads to the Senate.
We have spoken in opposition of this bill and cannot support it as it removes Algebra II and two semesters of a foreign language as graduation requirements, putting New Mexico students at risk of not being able to apply to our state’s flagship university, the University of New Mexico. We do appreciate an amendment to the bill that requires schools to offer Algebra II and foreign language courses and are grateful to the sponsors for making that important change.
2021 State Teacher of the Year, Alisa Cooper de Uribe and 8 other New Mexico Teachers of the year, said it best in this piece for the Santa Fe New Mexican, “We believe House Bill 126 takes us in the wrong direction for many reasons, but most of all because it sends a message that we don’t believe in our students. There are no paths to success from there.”
SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION 1 – STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION, CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
SJR 1 proposes an amendment to the Constitution of New Mexico eliminating the cabinet position of Public Education Secretary and replaces it with a State Superintendent of Instruction hired by a 15-member State Board of Education. The state board would be made up of 10 elected members and 5 Governor appointees.
Although we understand the revolving door at the PED has been exceedingly problematic for teachers and students, this move is wrong for education in New Mexico. We believe that the governor should have direct responsibility over the Public Education Department and that moving to a state board will amplify politics at the expense of our students. As I stated in this article from the Santa Fe New Mexican, “There are 49 states ranked ahead of New Mexico, all with varied governance structures and all with education results far exceeding our own. New Mexico’s problem is not governance; it’s instruction. That’s where we should be putting our effort, improving instruction in New Mexico classrooms.”
We may need your support on this when it reaches the House of Representatives. Stay tuned!
We will continue to update you on a weekly basis and will have opportunities for you to act in support of our policies. Please be sure to follow us on on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram for all the latest updates.
You may see more frequent emails from us in the next few weeks as we push to get our policies across the finish line. We can’t do it without you. Thank you for your support.