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These feel-good phrases sound great to the general public: “We need to raise education standards in New Mexico.” “Our kids deserve better.” “Kids First.”
No one in our state, which has ranked persistently in the bottom of the nation in child poverty and graduation rates, would argue. But dig deep into the world where concerned parents, students and teachers are operating, and Gov. Susana Martinez’s reforms are not about kids. Her reforms — spearheaded by Hanna Skandera, a non-teacher and a non-parent — are really about corporate money and re-election campaign slogans.
The PED won’t acknowledge the huge elephant in the room: Not every child has a supportive adult at home. Many of our state’s children live in poverty and endure abuse and neglect. In Albuquerque Public Schools alone, 6,000 of 87,000 students are homeless and 64 percent of students qualify for free or reduced lunch. Despite these challenges, APS has increased its graduation rate from 63.2 percent in 2008 to 70.1 percent in 2012.
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