In a letter dated September 21, 2012, E. David Atencio, President of the NM School Superintendents Association wrote to Hanna Skandera on behalf of the Council in which he notifies her,
“as a result of the ongoing and systematic exclusion of Superintendents Council input, the Council will take steps to ensure that the concerns of children, families, communities, and Boards of Education are heard and considered.”
Thus, the New Mexico Superintendents Council has decided not to wait on Hanna Skandera any longer in their efforts to actually help New Mexico’s school children. The Council did leave the door open to her to participate with them, in “monthly solutions-based meetings to discuss the many issues facing our children and their schools.”
The Council is fed up with Skandera’s “lack of adherence to legislation that requires that the PED obtain ‘prior’ input from the Council”. Specifically, Skandera “elected to exclude the Council in order to make wholesale changes for the sole purpose of obtaining the NCLB waiver.”
Skandera did just that “without the required input and without notification to the Instructional Leaders of the State.” The Council is especially “concerned that there is widespread perception that the grading system has come about as a result of ‘cooperation’ or even ‘participation’ from the Council.”
This is the grading system that is so convoluted even Skandera herself was unable to explain how it works to state legislators. It didn’t help her cause that the only person who could explain how it works, Pete Goldschmidt, Director of Assessment and Accountability for NMPED, was allegedly providing consulting services out of state at the time.
However, “the PED changes did not reflect input from the Council either before or after the fact.” And that “to imply or state otherwise is fundamentally inaccurate.”
Skandera ignored the legislative requirement to work with the Council and then falsely conveyed the image that she did.
In fact, according to the letter, Skandera has refused to meet with the Secretary’s Superintendents Council, which is comprised of elected representatives from 8 School Board Regions plus members from school districts around the state both large and small.
Unfortunately, this has been Skandera’s practice since day one as the Council noted, “the lack of communication and adherence to process is but one example of the systematic exclusion of Superintendents and local input.”
From the day she was selected, it was clear that Hanna Skandera was the wrong choice to run the New Mexico Public Education Department.
She ordered government employees on government time using government equipment to create lists for Governor Martinez’s political advisor-guru, Jay McCleskey, to use against teachers’ unions.
Skandera sought to eliminate parental involvement in key education decisions regarding their children.
Most recently, she has angered the state’s school superintendents to such an extent that they see no choice but to move forward without her.
New Mexico’s school children, families, educators, and administrators deserve so much better than Ms. Skandera can offer.
Why does she still have her job as the leader of education in New Mexico?