Amendment Would Eliminate Secretary of Education Position
Senator Michael Padilla (D-14-Bernalillo), member of the Senate Education Committee, has introduced Senate Joint Resolution 2 (SJR2), proposing education reforms that will, in Sen. Padilla’s words, “take politics out of public education in New Mexico.” This particular legislation calls for: the elimination of the Secretary of Education position in the Governor’s Cabinet, implements a non-partisan State Board of Public Education, calls for the creation of a state superintendent of public education hired by the board, and places public education in the hands of education professionals.
As it stands now, public education in New Mexico can change dramatically every time a new governor is elected. “Our students and teachers are pulled in dramatically different directions every time a new governor takes office, making it incredibly difficult to make long term gains,” said Sen. Padilla. “Our children can feel the stress that their teachers are under, and they should only be feeling the stress of doing well in school.”
The proposal mandates the creation of a state board of education, whose primary responsibility is to appoint a state superintendent of public education, charged with implementing board policy and managing the Public Education Department (PED).
In light of current events involving the PED’s newly implemented teacher evaluation policy, student testing debacle, and school grading flaws, which have sparked controversy throughout the state, Sen. Padilla says he will not stand by and watch educators have the system taken away from them. “My number one priority is to support teachers, so they can focus on teaching our children, without having to deal with all the politics,” he noted.
Padilla says the bill is a constitutional amendment. Once passed through both chambers, it bypasses the governor’s office, and goes directly to voters for approval.
Representatives Rick Miera (D-11-Bernalillo) and Mimi Stewart (D-21-Bernalillo) will also be proposing a similar bill in the House of Representatives.