BY CHARLES GOODMACHER
Government and Media Relations Director, UniServ Director
National Education Association -New Mexico
Republican Lisa Shin recently pushed back on her status as a “extremist ideologue” and yet proved that point in her first rebuttal. She has repeatedly stated that she is for vouchers on the campaign trail. Vouchers are an unpopular concept in New Mexico, including among many Republicans.
New Mexicans know that vouchers are a scheme to privatize education, taking public school funds from students and classrooms to subsidize private schools often with a religious purpose. Yes this position is extreme, and she acknowledges this herself when she notes the idea is not acceptable in New Mexico.
Shin talks about supporting a radical shift in the purpose of education savings accounts. These accounts now allow parents and grandparents to save money tax free to support higher education costs in the future. Shin wants to allow Education savings accounts to be used by parents wealthy enough to send their children to private schools to now have a tax-payer supported scheme to pay for the option they already have. They’d simply pass through expensive private tuition money and then get tax benefits – lowering overall revenue available for public schools. This plan, even if it passed, would likely be overturned in light of our recent court decision (Yazzie/Martinez v State of New Mexico) that the State is not sufficiently funding our schools.
Despite the fact she wants to represent students, parents and voters in the highly rated Los Alamos school district, Shin advocates for more charters, though here too she seems confused about the fact that in New Mexico all charter schools are in fact public schools, subject to the review process set forth by the public education commission.
Shin sings with the extremist chorus calling out the tunes embraced by Governor Martinez and her Education Secretary Skandera and now Ruszkowski. They bash local public schools and denigrate our teachers in their push to privatize public education.
Under Susana’s education secretaries, high stakes testing took away the joy of learning from our children and the joy of teaching from our educators. PE, Art, Music, and critical thinking skills have been reduced, while millions are spent on expensive standardized tests. They drove many high-quality teachers out of the state and out of the profession while our kids suffer.
How ironic then that Lisa Shin who claims to be looking out for our kids, blames teachers unions for our abysmal state of schools under the Martinez administration which has held the reins of power for the last eight years. It’s time to end those failed policies and return to investing sufficiently in the basics of quality education.
Christine Chandler will help New Mexico take a “moon shot” for our students, while Shin will hold back our students. It’s a clear choice for anyone who cares about New Mexico students.