Susana Martinez: “I’m so pro-teacher it’s not even funny”

By Rob Nikolewski on November 7, 2013
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By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog

SANTA FE — A teacher evaluation plan promoted by has sparked protests from some educators and unions accusing Martinez and the of being anti-teacher but Martinez defended her reform measures, telling , “I’m so pro-teacher it’s not even funny.”

The Republican governor and are calling for a new assessment program that calls for

DEFENDING HER REFORMS: Gov. Susana Martinez insists that education reform is essential in New Mexico and that she supports rank and file teachers.

That has led to fierce pushback from opponents who say there’s too much emphasis on testing and allege Martinez and Skandera are unfairly targeting teachers.

“I’m so pro-teacher because I want to reward that profession as it should be rewarded,” Martinez said Wednesday after giving a speech in Albuquerque. “I don’t want an excellent teacher or school leader to be treated the very same as a teacher who walks into the classroom and merely says, ‘Read chapter 12 and leave when the bell rings.’ ”

But on Oct. 22 in Albuquerque, a rally was held denouncing the teacher evaluation system and Martinez-backed reforms.

And on , a school board meeting centered on the evaluations as well as a requirement that would penalize teachers for missing too many days of work. Right now, teachers in Las Cruces are given 10 sick days per year under their contract with the school district.

“I don’t know when teachers became public enemy No. 1,” Mary Parr-Sanchez, a Picacho Middle School teacher and vice president of the state NEA teacher’s union branch, told the Las Cruces Sun-News. “It feels that way sometimes.”

At the Albuquerque rally, a number of anti-Martinez and anti-Skandera , including one that portrayed the governor and PED secretary-designate with bloody fangs.

a group critical of Martinez and Skandera, has established a Facebook page with more than 3,000 “likes” and the union has filed a lawsuit against the evaluation plan.

“Our kids are crying because they don’t want to be in school, they’re tested to death,” Alamosa Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Pamela Irvin

When asked why there’s been so much opposition, Martinez said, “I think it’s because the information about what we plan on doing in allowing to raise those teachers up and raise their profession isn’t getting out all the way down to the teachers themselves. That’s why we’re improving on our communication because we want them to know.”

Opponents have argued that Martinez and Skandera haven’t listened to their concerns and since neither of them have classroom experience, the governor and secretary-designate don’t understand what educators face each day.

Martinez supporters include an Albuquerque charter school, Albuquerque Institute for Mathematics and Science. whose principal

Martinez believes a better evaluation system should take the place of an assessment system that has seen nearly every New Mexico teacher deemed as competent, while student reading scores and drop-out rates consistently rank 48th and 49th in the country.

“I think it’s really important to separate our really good teachers,” Martinez said. “We want to reward them. You can’t have 99 percent (deemed) effective teachers and — when I first took office — 63 percent graduation rates. You can see that the math doesn’t match up. So we have to assess teachers based on student performance and progress. There has to be a link.”

Here’s NM Watchdog video of Martinez defending her education measures:

Contact Rob Nikolewski at and follow him on Twitter @robnikolewski

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3 Comments For This Post So Far

  1. Linda Horn
    7:34 pm on November 7th, 2013

    Math and science are fine, but they don’t produce a well-rounded student. The arts are important as well. When I was a VOLUNTEER for Art in the Schools in Albuquerque, I found many students became more engaged and successful in other subject when art was offered – even at a paltry hour a week. I’d like to know how the Governor feels about that, and your opinion as well.

  2. Wallace Anderson
    7:51 pm on November 7th, 2013


    The math doesn’t ad up with such a poor graduation rate. Being 48 and or 49th in achievement is nothing to be proud of in this society. How can we have 99 per cent competency in our teachers?

  3. Wallace Anderson
    7:54 pm on November 7th, 2013

    Typing error should read accomplish.

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