Turn New Mexico Around

Jeff Apodaca’s Education Plan

Jeff Apodaca

Education is the pathway to the future of New Mexico’s children, families, and communities; to our state’s economic growth and prosperity.

Education is the key to turning New Mexico around. Yet for too long our political leaders have failed New Mexico’s children. We’re 50th in the nation with regards to our educational system and this dramatically impacts our economy, our crime rates, our families, and our quality of life.

More of the status quo will only hurt our children more.

This must change.

Under an Apodaca administration we will turn New Mexico schools around with a new approach and new ideas.

We must acknowledge that one path does not fit all New Mexico students. We will implement innovative educational pathways for all New Mexico students beginning at birth through 20 years of age. New Mexico education pathways will provide access to higher-wage jobs; our students will be well prepared for a highly trained workforce. We will attract and retain businesses in New Mexico. Our students will become active citizens and participants in our communities.

My opponents have a lot of experience with the status quo. They say major change, “isn’t credible.” I couldn’t disagree more. We need big changes, big ideas, and we need them now. As Governor, I’ll put my unique experience to work for you.

Read our plan, let us know what you think, and send us your ideas at info@apo18.com. Together, we can bring major changes to turn New Mexico’s schools around.

– Jeff Apodaca

We need major change when it comes to our schools.

Education is the pathway to the future of New Mexico’s children, families, and communities; to our state’s economic growth and prosperity.

We must acknowledge that one path does not fit all New Mexico students. We will implement innovative educational pathways for all New Mexico students beginning at birth through 20 years of age. New Mexico education pathways will provide access to higher-wage jobs; our students will be well prepared for a highly trained workforce. We will attract and retain businesses in New Mexico. Our students will become active citizens and participants in our communities.

Apodaca is committed to a strong start for New Mexico students through early education.

  • Provide early family intervention through existing and new community programs that support and empower our young families. Partner with community resources to provide families with tools to support healthy early child development in all realms: emotional, social, physical, and educationally.
  • Provide families a hand-up with in-home educational reading and math programs for 0-4 years of age with existing models and materials with proven outcomes.<
  • Invest additional funding from the State Permanent Land Grant fund into early childhood programs from 0-4 years of age. Implement early childhood programs through collaborations among CYFD, PED, and community agencies.
  • Make year-round preschool the standard expectation for all NM kids from 3-4 years of age. Hire only educators who are highly qualified and credentialed in early childhood education from a four year college education program.
  • Fully fund K-3 plus programs as well as dual language programs across New Mexico.
  • Involve parents in their kids’ education from the very beginning. Provide funding for schools to implement parent- and family- oriented programs, like homework help; ESL; financial literacy; laundry + library facilities; family and community meals and events. Schools can become centers of their communities.

Apodaca’s education pathways will put our students on the road to well-paying jobs.

  • Fund after-school programs and job training opportunities for all New Mexico middle and high school students to engage our youth in their future opportunities.
  • Preserve the lottery scholarship, and expand the program to serve the diverse pathways of New Mexico students. Include lottery scholarship access to trade schools. Not all students choose college, not all high-quality jobs require a degree.
  • Engage businesses and industries to implement apprentice pathway programs within high schools and community colleges for trade skills,emerging energy technologies, technology-related fields, environmental, agricultural, and other growing industries so that our students can compete in a global economy.
  • Engage our professional and creative communities to implement creativity and entrepreneurship mentoring programs to enable high school, community college, and university students to develop the skills, resources, and competencies to be the next generation of highly successful innovators.
  • The workforce of the future will incorporate alternative ways of working, including telecommuting, internships, and ongoing online learning. Apprentice and mentorship programs will prepare our students for these work modalities, and build good work habits and job relationship skills as well.
  • Reduce class sizes and improve student-to-teacher ratios.

Apodaca will attract and retain top quality teachers to New Mexico by making New Mexico an excellent place to teach and learn.

  • Competitive starting salaries for teachers will increase by tier to $43,000, $47,000, and $55,000 a year, based upon educational levels and professional dossier (teachers will no longer have to pay out of their pockets to submit a dossier); pay scales will reflect experience and years of service.
  • Educators will be additionally compensated for professional training and additional educator-provided services that benefit New Mexico students, such as customized qualitative classroom innovations and implementation of community schooling models.
  • We will return dignity and respect to the New Mexico educator. Teachers are to be recognized as the experts in education. We will encourage, recognize, and reward teacher-directed educational innovation, and we will provide opportunities for educators to share best practices.
  • Educational Assistants will be compensated with a tiered salary schedule starting at $21,000 a year and increasing with experience, service, and professional development up to $38,000 a year.
  • An annual 3% cost of living pay increase for educators and all education support staff will support retention of educators in our State.
  • Additional compensation will provide an incentive to teachers who take jobs within high need classes and student populations.
  • Will equip educators with training and support regarding the challenges of teaching students from impoverished communities.
  • Hold teachers, principals, administrators, and superintendents to high standards of professionalism. Teachers are the experts in the education of their students, and as professionals must be trusted to help make decisions about curriculum, instructional methods and materials, evaluation and assessment.
  • Adopt and apply a fair, consistent teacher evaluation process that measures teachers by their own merit, growth, professionalism and expertise.
  • Uncouple standardized test scores from teacher evaluations.
  • Balance accountability with opportunities for teacher growth via professional development.
  • Improve New Mexico teacher education programs by ensuring that teachers graduate with adequate content knowledge and pedagogical skills.
  • Require colleges of education to develop long-range follow-up and supportive post-graduate programs with alumni.

Apodaca will ensure more resources and fewer barriers for students, families and educators.

  • Provide equitable funding for all schools and school districts in accordance with the NM Constitutional obligation to do so.
  • Provide schools with resources that meet the holistic needs of all children, such as guidance counselors, social workers, librarians, speech and language pathologists, nurses, psychologists, and other wrap-around services. Offer incentives for these ancillary service providers to encourage them to work in New Mexico and especially in our rural communities.
  • Increase the number of counselors and social workers in schools to support students who live in poverty or struggle with addiction.
  • Reform student assessment to ensure that testing is culturally and academically relevant.
  • Establish programs that provide support as well as accountability to parents whose children are chronically absent or under-performing in order to break the cycle of underachievement, such as homework classes at school; parent – teacher teams, and an expectation of parent accountability for student absences.
  • Support Restorative Justice programs for students to learn how to monitor themselves and develop leadership skills.
  • Parents and teachers are partners in their student’s education. Encourage an environment of collaboration and mutual respect.
  • Ensure that Special Education services are designed to meet the individual needs of the student, and are delivered by qualified professionals in the least restrictive environment. Ensure that Special Education funding is fully and appropriately utilized.
  • We will be alert to the barrier of bullying within and outside of the classroom. We will teach students coping skills as we support their self-esteem. We will help students identify and respond to inappropriate peer pressure or behaviors. We will engage with parents, teachers, students, and the full school community to create an atmosphere of respect, tolerance, and kindness.
  • Invest in the expansion of broadband and technology access for all New Mexicans.

Apodaca will implement a strong and future-oriented curriculum. We must raise our expectations. All education pathways must prepare our children to lead our state and our society.

  • Offer a comprehensive, well-rounded and ambitious curriculum for all children in standard subjects such as mathematics, science, history, foreign languages, English, humanities and literature.
  • Fully restore art, music, physical education, and additional subjects that are designed to engage students.
  • Include a robust civics curriculum to promote citizenship and leadership.
  • The New Mexico educational system must focus on critical thinking and discernment, as well as facts and content.
  • Apodaca is committed to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and dual language learning, including computer coding as an accredited course open to all levels.
  • Secondary education must provide meaningful pathways to job training, trades, and career development. Our curriculum must anticipate our rapidly changing technology and economy. We must provide tools that prepare students to be global citizens who are able to compete in the job market of the 21st century – jobs that we cannot begin to imagine today. Our students are going to need to be lifelong learners, therefore we must instill a love of learning.
  • More than 60% of the world’s population is bilingual. We will incorporate the cultural, ethnic, and linguistic diversity we celebrate in New Mexico as an asset in the classroom. Our multilingual and multicultural education will prepare our students for an increasingly cross-cultural world and global economy.

Apodaca will conduct an educator-led audit of the entire education budget.

  • Ensure that funds are used for effective programs and that funding benefits the classroom first.
  • Identify unmet needs.
  • Identify and remove statutes and regulations that were put in place many years ago that are no longer applicable.
  • Begin a methodical evaluation and removal of statutes and regulations that cost money but don’t deliver value; have little value; or are too onerous.

Apodaca will eliminate the PARCC test from our New Mexico school system and reallocate the funding spent on PARCC testing back into the classroom.
Apodaca will aim to improve educational outcomes in New Mexico.

  • We will anticipate excellence. We will not be satisfied with mediocrity. We will retain students through the relevancy of their curriculum, the excitement of future opportunities, and the attraction of activities and new areas for study.
  • Broaden measures of student performance and success by not relying primarily on standardized test scores.
  • Adopt standardized assessments that support children, teachers, and the instructional process. Assessments will not be punitive, tied to educational funding, or used to determine “school grades”.
  • Apodaca will eliminate useless tests that detract from instructional time. For assessments and testing to be constructive, we will work to make test data more useful to classroom teachers and families.
  • Relieve students, educators, and parents from the current punitive policy practices in the New Mexico school system: Apodaca will eliminate 3rd grade retention, A to F school grading systems, and New Mexico’s School Improvement List. We will replace these with K3 + programs, and ensure ALL classrooms have support for student achievement. This will be achieved by finding what’s working in successful schools with similar demographics and economic profile, and replicating those modalities which demonstrate successful outcomes.
  • Actively recruit teacher education candidates from all of New Mexico’s diverse ethnicities. Students benefit when taught by teachers from the same culture and background, and perspectives are broadened when school personnel are from different backgrounds.
  • Emulate successful pre-K programs with a commitment to longitudinal research-based followup of student cohorts through high school to identify what, if any, are the most positive longterm impacts of pre-K programs.
  • Apodaca is committed to a more functional higher education system.
  • Will work with the Legislature to stabilize our Lottery Scholarship (Lottery) at a level that provides opportunities for our college students.
  • Will work to implement a “gap year” between high school graduation and use of the Lottery.
  • Will assure the Lottery supports vocational schools as well as community colleges and universities.
  • Will de-politize the selection of Research Universities and Comprehensive Universities. Regents should be selected based on their knowledge of the university and their commitment to the university (including their record of giving). Apodaca will seek wide input on the selection of Regents including the presidents of the institutions and community leaders.
  • Many New Mexico university regents attempt to micromanage the schools. Apodaca will select regents who understand the difference between a governing board and management. Apodaca will also consolidate the regents into three groups: 1. Research universities, 2. Comprehensive universities, and 3. Community Colleges (since many community colleges have elected boards, this step will take more discussion).
  • Will work with the legislature to help address the critical issues universities face including phenomenal levels of paperwork from the Federal government and huge backlogs of deferred maintenance (as much as $450 million at UNM).
  • Will work with Regents to assure our students are supported and expected to graduate in a timely manner and that best practices are shared throughout the state.

Apodaca is committed to fully funding changes in our New Mexico school system.

  • Reallocate funding back to the classroom by moving 8% of the PED budget back into the equalized funding formula: these funds will be earmarked for updating educational programs and learning resources for teachers and students.
  • Audit the entire state budget. Identify funding being used on administration, special projects, programs and regulations that cost money but don’t deliver value, and reallocate those funds back into the classroom.
  • Partner with the nonprofit world and tap into federal grants where there is funding available for school systems like New Mexico. With this funding source we will apply programs to address student needs and increase classroom achievement.
  • Invest additional funding from the State Permanent Land Grant fund into early childhood programs from 0-4 years of age.

Together We Can Turn New Mexico Around

By creating

  • 225,000 New Jobs for New Mexico
  • $1.8 billion in new tax revenue annually
  • Equal pay for women
  • Reinstate the Commission on the Status of Women
  • Higher wages for all New Mexicans
  • 3% annual raise for state employees
  • Medicare for all New Mexicans
  • Pay increase for teachers and education support staff
  • 41,000 new trade skill jobs
  • Year-round preschool
  • Early family intervention
  • Job training for telecommuting jobs
  • 300 new doctors
  • 3,200 new nurses
  • 1,600 new physician’s assistants
  • Earned family and medical leave
  • Grow and expand our middle-class

©2018 Paid for by Jeff Apodaca for New Mexico, Pilar Rubio, Treasurer   |   Privacy Policy

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