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Aren't Our Children Worth It?

As New Mexicans, we all share one common view: we want the best for our kids.
Bethany
Published: 10/18/2022

Key Takeaways

  1. Vote Yes for Constitutional Amendment 1 on the back of your ballot.
  2. This will invest over $200 million from the Permanent School Fund into our education system, without raising taxes.

As educators, we show up every day in the classroom to ensure that each child is cared for and that each child receives the best education possible. We wouldn’t do it if we didn’t care deeply about New Mexico’s young people.

Now, we have the opportunity as voters to sign a $200 million dollar check written out to the future of our kids by voting yes on Constitutional Amendment 1 on this November’s ballot.

Constitution Amendment 1 will invest over $200 million from the Permanent School Fund into our education system, without raising taxes. Everyone, from our youngest ones in PreK to those approaching graduation and higher education to those pursuing trades will benefit. This funding gives us the opportunity to address one of the most pressing issues in New Mexico’s educational system: teacher shortages. 

Prior to 2020 and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were already seeing a decline in people entering--and staying in--the teaching profession. The global public health emergency accelerated this trend, leaving us with unprecedented vacancies in classrooms across our state and our nation.

Last year, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and our State Legislature passed historic pay increases for educators, which have helped retain and attract teachers. A report recently released by NMSU’s Southwest Outreach Academic Research (SOAR) Evaluation & Policy Center shows that teacher vacancies in 2022 are down by 34% compared to 2021 levels, while higher education students pursuing teaching certification grew in number.

But while we’ve made significant gains in reducing teacher vacancies, we also have a long way to go to ensure every open position is filled by a qualified candidate, whether for a certified teacher, administrator, counselor or educational assistant.

Vacancies in special education and elementary education remain high, and we still have 690 teacher vacancies across the state, compared to 571 in the pre-pandemic 2020 SOAR report. Every day, teachers reach into their own pockets to pay for classroom supplies. School districts have successful programs and positions funded by federal COVID-19 relief funds, funding that has an uncertain future which is out of our state’s control.

Until very recently, our schools were massively underfunded, with programs slashed in favor of high stakes testing and punitive teacher evaluations. We’re still rebuilding the public education system from the policies of previous administrations, and we need a stable source of funding to do so.

We’ve seen from the implementation of historic raises that investing in our teachers and students reaps tangible dividends. We are at a pivotal moment in education, with the chance to transform teaching and learning in New Mexico, with a YES vote on Constitutional Amendment 1.

Please join with me--and with educators across the state--in supporting Constitutional Amendment 1. We are the only ones who can approve this money, so let’s do it, for our children.