Governor Martinez demanded the end to parental involvement in critical education decisions. She was joined in her effort by legislators Mary Helen Garcia, John Arthur Smith, Cynthia Nava, Dennis Roch, David Doyle, and others. Apparently these folks believe that parents don’t know any better and that the state should make these decisions for them.
“It’s a sad day when one small amendment on this bill would have brought unanimous approval.” – Representative Mimi Stewart
That sad day happened last week, compliments of Governor Susana Martinez, who chose to advance her national political career over a crucial compromise on remediation. The sticking point was parents’ rights to make critical decisions about their children’s education. Legislators Mimi Stewart, Linda Lopez, Rick Miera, Sheryl Williams Stapleton, and others, fought to protect those rights, rights that are also protected under New Mexico law.
After it became clear that they were breaking the law, Martinez and company made a half-hearted and unrealistic effort to include parental involvement in their reform bill. The sole purpose of which was to deceive the public by smoke screen that they still intended to terminate parental rights. But they set the ridiculously high hurdle of requiring a 95% attendance rate for eight-year olds. A child with chicken pox, a family emergency, or any number of valid reasons for not attending school would practically ensure that the vast majority of parents would lose their right to make critical education decisions.
It is the height of hypocrisy that Mary Helen Garcia, David Doyle, and others who support Martinez’s punitive education reforms do not meet a 95% attendance record themselves. These legislators will be held accountable for trying to eliminate a parent’s rights to make key decisions about his or her own child’s future.