As a High School Special Education teacher, I have seen it all. I have seen students rise above their circumstances to become successful members of society, and I have seen too many students fail to do so. This I know: the most consistent problem with education in our State, is our failure to take enough action and early-interventions to support struggling students, including during the earliest years.   

New Mexico currently sits at number fifty nationwide when it comes to K-12 education. The low ranking of our education system is a suppressive dark cloud hanging over all of us.  Unfortunately, it is our children who always suffer the most from the way our State delivers education to our students. 

I am from the small and rural community of Lordsburg, which sits in Hidalgo county, one of the poorest regions in our State. This is where I have chosen to live, raise my family and became a teacher as my profession.  Our state’s low education rankings stem primarily from out-of-school factors like poverty and low parent involvement. These are not the fault of our teachers, but they do need more tools to help students successfully overcome those factors.

Whether we ourselves are struggling or privileged, we all agree the state will be better off if all our students were to succeed in school and become successful members of society.

Thankfully, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced New Mexico would offer free college tuition to state residents. This a great move. Still, I see many students unprepared for college as they struggle with the basics: reading, writing and math. If a student can’t write an essay because he or she did not have the appropriate foundation early in their educational path, then we need to change the situation.

Preparing all New Mexico students to succeed in school means we must provide early childhood education for all, as well as providing smaller class-sizes and in-school programs and staff (social workers, counselors, therapists and so on) throughout the K-12 experience. This is  in the best interest of all New Mexicans, regardless of what part of the State we are from, or our economic level. 

When lawmakers vote “yes” for educational progress, they invest in New Mexico’s future. I am one of the many New Mexicans that are tired of constantly being at the rankings. We need a legislature that supports programs to help all our children and prepare them for the future that awaits them.  

 Our focus should be on educational programs, and not denying educators the tools and resources to help move us up the rankings. This is only one of the reasons I am running for State Senator.  

My community deserves having the right representation and for our voices heard in Santa Fe.   We must change this together to ensure that our students are prepared for the future that lies ahead of them, whether they enter higher education, a career or technical program, or they go directly into the workforce. We can do this! 

Neomi Martinez-Parra is a Lordsburg, NM resident, teacher and Candidate for New Mexico Senate District 35.

 

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Contact Info: Luis Guerrero, Campaign Manager

Organization: Guerrero Political Solutions

Contact phone: (575)635-3354

Contact e-mail: lguerrerops@gmail.com