A Note From Transform Education NM: How Does #EducationEquity Play A Part In Extended School Closure?

 

Dear Friends,

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed life for all New Mexicans, especially for families who live paycheck to paycheck and families living in rural and Tribal communities across the state. We are all in this together, truly #AllTogetherNM. When some of us lack access to basic necessities, like healthcare and education, we all suffer.

The reality we are living now makes that even more clear.

It’s imperative that the state address immediate needs as well as long term ones. The shortcomings in New Mexico’s infrastructure have been laid bare by the coronavirus. The extended school closures, necessary to protect our health, impact every student in New Mexico, but because of inequities in our system, it is much worse for too many families.

Many of our communities can’t participate in online classes because they lack reliable internet access, as do many libraries in rural parts of the state. Many students live more than an hour away from their school, or lack transportation or a parent or caretaker who can drive them to school to pick up school lunches. The lack of education infrastructure and years of underfunding education has created inequities and opportunity gaps that we must call out in order to fix. We will continue to fight for a sufficient, equitable education system for all our students and families.

Now, the state has motioned to dismiss the Yazzie/Martinez lawsuit, acknowledging that students’ constitutional rights are STILL being violated, but suggesting that the court’s oversight is no longer necessary. We disagree.

With the state budget facing serious shortfalls, now is not the time to step away. Please take a minute and read the recent editorial in the Santa Fe New Mexican about why it’s important the ruling from the Yazzie/Martinez lawsuit continue to be enforced.

The First Judicial District Court will be hearing this motion on June 29th, along with the plaintiff families’ motion that explains how the state has not complied with Judge Singleton’s 2018 order to the state. That ruling ordered the state to take immediate action to ensure that ALL students have the opportunity to a sufficient education, per the New Mexico State Constitution.

We stand with families who haven’t had equitable opportunities for education in our state, and we stand by Judge Singleton’s ruling. We know that when the political system continues to fail to meet the needs of our students, it’s critical for the courts to ensure their rights are met. We’ll continue to work with all of you and advocate for New Mexico families until a basic educational sufficiency is enjoyed by all students.

For updates and to help seize the opportunity to Transform Education in our state, please follow TENM on social media @TransformEdNM.

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