Education is a Priority

  • People in this district recognize the value of good education. I know I owe a lot to good teachers in public schools and universities. Tax revenues spent wisely on education are a good investment in our future. Well-educated people are productive people, who have the tools to give themselves and our state a brighter future.
  • Teachers should be paid better for the important work they do. They should be evaluated in a fair way, negotiated by the state, local school boards, administrators, and the teachers themselves. More time should be allowed for teaching and not testing and “teaching to the test.” Schools should be evaluated in a rational, fair way.
  • I support the proposal to bring to the voters a state constitutional amendment to allow 1% of the state’s $16 billion Land Grant Permanent Fund (more than $150 million per year) to be used each year for early childhood education, in addition to the presently allowed 5% for K-12 education. The most recent proposal by Representatives Javier Martinez and Antonio Maestas (2017 session HJR1) passed the state House but was not voted upon by the Senate. The voters of New Mexico should be allowed to decide: is the benefit to our state of an additional 1% investment in education greater than the long-term risk to the fund? Although I might suggest some provisions to deal with protracted periods of low fund growth, I lean toward a “yes" that the long-term social and economic benefits are greater than the cost.
  • New Mexico’s public universities are providing good value to our citizens. The NM lottery scholarship is a good program that helps New Mexicans pay for college, but the lottery income today only provides enough funds to cover 60% of tuition, down from the original 100%. We should use liquor excise tax or other revenues to keep this level from dropping below 60% if lottery income becomes further inadequate. Local college branches such as UNM-LA play an important role in the community, from dual-enrollment courses for high school students, to undergraduate and graduate studies, small business development, and continuing education. Local public colleges should not duplicate what is available at the major state universities, but they can complement what the major universities provide appropriate to local needs.