The Constitution of New Mexico gives the state senate the ability to confirm OR reject gubernatorial appointments. (Article IV, Section 42) This authority invested in the senate is one of the cornerstones of our system of checks and balances.
No appointment by Governor Susana Martinez has been more wrong for New Mexico than Hanna Skandera, as Secretary of Education. Skandera has no teaching or public school administration experience, as required by law. Incompetence, cronyism, and callous disdain for New Mexico’s multicultural foundation and values have highlighted her term in office including:
Blatant disregard for the Indian Education Act of 2003.
Seeking to eliminate parental involvement in key decisions regarding their children’s education.
Falsely accusing school districts of gaming the system (fraud).
Seeking to eliminate local control of education and education funding.
Gutting the Bilingual Education Bureau.
Gutting the Rural Education Bureau.
Gutting the Education Technologies Bureau (risking millions in federal funding).
Failing to communicate with Spanish language and Indian Education advisory groups.
Refusing to attend a Hispanic Education Conference.
Failing to communicate with school superintendents and others because they question her policies.
Siphoning off critical public education funding to enrich private companies.
So what does it mean to New Mexico if the senate waives its constitutional authority to reject an appointment?
If confirmed, the Senate will effectively condone all Skandera’s failures, shortcomings, and disrespect for the very identity of most New Mexicans. The public will then simply accept what she does, and that is she not wrong for the job after all.
She will continue to ignore the importance of minority and bilingual education. She will continue to remove parents from decisions about what is best for their children. She will continue to gut key programs in favor of funding her friends in private out-of-state companies. She and Governor Martinez will continue to manipulate the system to satisfy their own agenda.
If confirmed, Ms. Skandera will be able to cite senate approval as the basis for doing as she pleases without repercussion. Martinez has the right to appoint whomever she wishes. Senators have a constitutional right to reject that appointment if it is wrong for New Mexico.