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ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Teachers unions and some state lawmakers want the state Court of Appeals to block the new teacher evaluation system they say violates state laws.
The request comes after a state District Court judge last month refused to stop implementation of the New Mexico Public Education Department’s system.
The judge ruled that Hanna Skandera, the department’s secretary-designate, has a right to carry out administrative rules such as the teacher evaluation program, the Albuquerque Journal reported Friday.
The appeals court is expected to consider the issue over the next eight to 12 months, said Shane Youtz, the attorney representing the teachers group.
The coalition opposing the evaluation program says it violates state laws requiring school principals to conduct in-class teacher observations. The education department’s system allows other teachers to do observations. The group also is challenging the exemption of charter schools from some evaluation rules.
Ellen Bernstein, president of the Albuquerque Teachers Federation, said the coalition contends that the state doesn’t have a right to make rules conflicting with existing law.
Education department spokesman Larry Behrens said the issues raised in the appeal have been asked and answered by New Mexico courts.
Joining the Albuquerque teachers union in the petition first filed in September was the state chapter of the American Federation of Teachers; state Sens. Howie Morales, D-Silver City, and Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque; Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton, D-Albuquerque; and Los Alamos teacher Ryan Ross.
Both Morales and Lopez have announced plans to seek the Democratic nomination for governor to run against Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican.