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Charters Called ‘Pioneers’ in Reform

Gov. Susana Martinez addressed a coalition of charter schools Friday as part of the coalition’s annual conference, reassuring the group that she would work to secure funding for charter schools.

She called them “pioneers” in reforming New Mexico education.

The conference of charter schools kicked off Friday to advocate for policy that would help charter schools and identify best practices for teachers and administrators. The governor stressed her support for the schools and vowed to oppose any legislation that would cut their funding or prevent more charter schools from opening.

“We need all hands on deck, and charter schools are an important part of this effort,” Martinez told the crowd of hundreds of charter school employees and advocates at the Marriott Pyramid hotel and conference center.

The crowd gave the governor a standing ovation after her short speech.

Albuquerque Public Schools has supported legislation in past sessions that would put a moratorium on the number of charter schools until more education funds become available. The district has also pushed for clarity in the laws that govern capital funding for charters.


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Four of the top 10 schools in the state are charter schools, and charter schools are 10 of the 40 schools that received an “A” through the governor’s school grading program.

Since 2003, an average of six charter schools have opened each year, according to the New Mexico Coalition for Charter Schools’ website.

Charter schools provide an alternative to parents who might not want to send their child to their neighborhood school, and the schools have more freedom in designing curriculum.

After the governor, Education Secretary-designate Hanna Skandera asked the coalition to continue innovating on behalf of all students in the state. She said the charter school structure allows teachers and administrators to be more creative in their approaches to education.

“We are asking and we are counting on your standing on the front lines, not just for your school but for every student in our state,” Skandera said.
— This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal