Second grade teacher Billie Thurman-Helean is about to start her third year teaching at Maggie Cordova Elementary School in Rio Rancho. Her life dream was to teach, she said. “I’ve always wanted to do this,” she told NM Political Report. She didn’t realize, however, that she would pay for school supplies out of her own pocket. As a kid, she remembers bringing a backpack and lunch to school, and having school supplies available there.
How New Mexico educates its children will be in the hands of a state judge soon as a landmark trial against the state Public Education Department wraps up. Over eight weeks, the trial has featured dozens of witnesses and numerous citations to academic studies and policy reports. But in the end, the trial before First Judicial District Judge Sarah Singleton in Santa Fe boiled down to dueling worldviews. The plaintiffs — the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) — cited education outcomes for low-income, Native American and English language learners as evidence that New Mexico does not meet its constitutional obligation to provide a sufficient education for all children. This story originally appeared at New Mexico In Depth and is reprinted with permission.
The state of Texas’ final and most important argument against President Obama’s immigration plan was interrupted just seconds after it began on Monday by one of the more liberal justices on the U.S. Supreme Court. “How can you say that?” Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller, who said the program, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, is the most far-reaching in history. The justice pointed to a policy in 1990 that allowed 1.5 million of 4 million undocumented immigrants to remain in the country and work. “It granted basically the same thing, deferred action and work authorization,” she said. “That was a — 40 percent of the immigrant population of the time was affected.”
The state’s arguments before the high court marked the final legal battle over the program Obama announced in 2014 that would shield nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants in the country from deportation proceedings and allow them to apply for a three-year work permit. A decision by the Supreme Court is expected later this year.