January 27, 2015

Lopez hopes to roll back Martinez education initiatives

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ThinkingOne Albuquerque Democrat wants to roll back two high profile education initiatives advocated by Gov. Susana Martinez.

Among the pieces of legislation introduced by Sen. Linda Lopez are SB 196, whichwould discontinue the use of Common Core curriculum standards in the state, and SB 138 which would repeal the law that requires A-F grading of schools in the state.

Lopez, who ran for the Democratic nomination for governor last year, said parents across the state had told her that they did not like the use of Common Core standards.

Lopez told New Mexico Political Report that she understood the premise of national standards for tests.

“But the biggest concern, of course, is what about the issues on diversity?” Lopez asked. “What about all the issues with our history?”

New Mexico Political Report reached out to the Public Education Department on Monday afternoon but did not receive a response. If the department provides a response, this post will be updated.

There is concern about what happens when Common Core becomes less common. Currently, just 12 states and Washington D.C. use Common Core standards, down from a high of 26 according to the Washington Post.

Lopez said her bill is to “stop, look and review” the Common Core curriculum standards.

Across the nation, it is mainly conservative Republicans who are opposing the educations standards. Most recently, a Republican-backed bill banning the use of Common Core standards advanced in Virginia.

There is a number of high-profile conservatives who support the Common Core standards, including Martinez and former-Florida governor Jeb Bush.

As for if any conservative members of the Senate would support it, Lopez said she wasn’t sure, but seemed hopeful.

“We’ll be chit-chatting in the next several weeks, but I know that there’s some interest,” Lopez said.

Another education initiative that Democrats have criticized is the practice of giving schools a grade of A-F. Lopez says the process is confusing and that the process was a failure.

“If I remember correctly, it was supposed to catch the attention of our communities so our parents would understand exactly how their schools were performing,” Lopez said. She said this is not how it has worked.

One big problem Lopez sees is that it is overly complicated.

When she sat on the Legislative Education Study Committee, an interim committee, she said that she was shown how complicated it was.

“We had a group of scientists to try to duplicate, replicate [the results] they couldn’t do it,” Lopez said.