Today ISPAC released an in-depth investigation into Hanna Skandera and her mismanagement of the New Mexico Public Education Department.
Read the report located in the column to the right. Remember to click on the lower left icon to expand the report to full size.
Rather than serving New Mexico’s students or its cash-strapped school districts, the New Mexico Public Education Department under Secretary-Designate Hanna Skandera has become a factory for political
favors. Skandera has worked for former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and his company FEE (Foundation for Excellence in Education).
She is part of a national push to privatize public education (called the Florida Model) that siphons off public education funds and hands them over to favored private education providers.
Skandera came to New Mexico after working for two such companies. Her reforms that she has sought to push upon New Mexicans, have been demonstrated elsewhere to serve well-connected adults rather than children, and, in fact, leave some of the neediest students behind.
Among ISPAC’s findings:
Skandera remains involved with private companies who benefit greatly from her post as Secretary Designate of NMPED. (In one case, she sits on the board of a company which counts New Mexico as a client.) Money
is being channeled away from public schools into out-of-state businesses, some of which have donated to Gov. Susana Martinez.
Since her appointment, Skandera has a demonstrable pattern of disrespecting New Mexico’s distinct culture and ignoring state law onbilingual education. Worse, she has redistributed public money from
New Mexico-based programs created specifically to help Hispanic and Native American educators here into salaries for directors of anational education company.
Skandera’s short-sighted, corporate-style layoff of PED personnel was strategic and politically motivated. She fired a union president, gutted agencies tasked with uncovering and investigating fraudulent misuse of taxpayers funds, and eliminated positions which brought tens of millions of federal dollars into under-funded school districts.
Skandera has vastly more experience in the for-profit education industry than in public-school classrooms, and she is good to her friends. Hirings have been rigged and lawyers have been appointed to
regulate their own clients. Funds are being diverted out of New Mexico’s classrooms, where teachers battle daily to hold onto and educate students.
This report makes it very clear that it is time for Hanna Skandera to move on. Susana Martinez should put the interests of New Mexico’s school children first and replace Skandera with an experienced local educator who understands that public education is not about enriching private companies.