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Issue Position: Education

Issue Position

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We have many different types of schools in our state. They range from small one-room school houses to large urban high schools. Class sizes vary greatly, but the overall trend is for them to be larger, not smaller. Given the attention to our children's performance as compared with other states' children, we should be looking critically at every aspect of our current system with an eye toward improvement. We have a large number of poor families and many people with bi-cultural backgrounds and languages spoken at home other than English. These demographics mean New Mexico children are not like other states' children. No Child Left Behind was enacted with good intentions. The reality of meeting the requirements and having federal funding tied to some measurable goal has been harsh. Many states, New Mexico included, have received waivers which are contingent upon other requirements including testing students, teachers and school systems. The amount of time spent performing tests in some ways detracts from education, since testing is usually a smaller part and not the complete process of educating. Our teachers need to teach, our systems need to develop thinking and reasoning, our children need a balanced program where topics reinforce concepts and a certain depth of understanding occurs before new ideas are explored. For New Mexico to become competitive in the job market, especially right here in our own state, we must roll up our sleeves and begin some serious work on our educations system's organization, funding and style of delivery. The educators themselves, the teachers need to be included in this process. Large schools should look at the data suggesting that schools within schools and smaller class sizes overall have better results. Creating partnerships between private sector business and public education could help get more science and math programs up and running. More early childhood education is needed to offset some of the demographic factors mentioned earlier. More college level coursework in our high schools will help get our youth off to a good start on their degrees. Parents need better forums for their input and involvement. This is something the whole state needs to get behind and quickly, before New Mexico's future success is left behind. As a Legislator I am committed to helping our public schools improve by getting the best people involved in teaching our students and fixing our school systems.


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