Teachers in N.M. House Urge U.S. Senate to Protect New Mexico Public Education from Inexperienced Trump Nominee

Teachers in N.M. House Urge U.S. Senate to Protect New Mexico Public Education from Inexperienced Trump Nominee

Santa Fe, N.M. – Today, teachers in the New Mexico House of Representatives urged the U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to protect New Mexico public education from inexperienced President Trump nominee, Betsy DeVos.  N.M. House Majority Leader Sheryl Williams Stapleton (D-Albuquerque), Chair of the N.M. House Education Committee Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-Los Alamos), Vice Chair of the N.M. House Education Committee Andres Romero (D-Albuquerque),  N.M. Representative Christine Trujillo (D-Albuquerque), N.M Representative Tómas Salazar (D-Las Vegas), N.M. Representative Debbie Sarañana (D-Albuquerque), and N.M. Representative Linda Trujillo (D-Santa Fe) pointed to DeVos’ lack of knowledge about the mission of the department she has been handpicked to run, including priorities that affect New Mexico students.

“As we watched Ms. DeVos’ confirmation hearing, it became increasingly clear that she does not have the complete knowledge to manage the department and that her priorities are out of step with the needs of teachers, school districts and, most of all, our students,” the legislators wrote. “We cannot jeopardize our future. In order to improve education in New Mexico, we need someone who understands our schools and the need for every child to succeed—Ms. DeVos does not.”

The U.S. Department of Education establishes policies on, distributes and monitors federal financial aid, collects and disseminates research data on schools, sets the policy agenda on national education issues, and ensures equal access to education. During her confirmation hearing, Betsy DeVos displayed an inability to respond to questions addressing specific programs the Department of Education administers.

The educators emphasized the unique needs of New Mexico students, “With a number of our schools qualifying for Title I funding and many of our schools providing education for populations that have very specific needs, it is imperative that the head of the Department of Education fully comprehends the requirements of special education, English as a Second Language (ESL), and other programs that serve our state’s population. In addition, many New Mexico students who attend our institutions of higher education rely on the Pell Grant and other financial aid services administered through the U.S. Department of Education to complete their college degrees and move ahead in the workforce.”

Betsy DeVos’ confirmation vote is scheduled for today, Monday February 6. U.S. Senate Democrats have committed to hold the floor overnight in opposition to DeVos’ nomination.

Full version of the N.M. House members’ letter is available here.