Steinhaus confirmed to head public education in NM - Albuquerque Journal

Steinhaus confirmed to head public education in NM

Secretary of Public Education Kurt Steinhaus, left, is congratulated by Lt. Gov. Howie Morales after being confirmed in the Senate in Santa Fe on Wednesday. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

SANTA FE — The state Senate voted 37-4 on Wednesday to confirm the appointment of Kurt Steinhaus as public education secretary.

Steinhaus is a former Los Alamos superintendent, deputy public education secretary and Alamogordo teacher.

“The PED really needs someone like you,” Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, said.

In a committee hearing before the vote, Steinhaus, responding to questions, said critical race theory isn’t part of New Mexico’s social studies standards and won’t be incorporated into them in the future.

He also indicated he supports efforts to extend the school year or learning time, a strategy legislative analysts say can help boost academic outcomes.

“If we learned anything in this pandemic,” Steinhaus said, “it’s that kids need time with their teachers.”

Republican opponents of the confirmation said they didn’t necessarily object to Steinhaus but to the education policies of Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, including school closures during the pandemic.

They also noted that Steinhaus is the third public education secretary since 2019.

“We have failed our children,” Senate Minority Whip Craig Brandt, R-Rio Rancho, said.

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