Editor:

Don’t trust them, judge.

Like sugarcoating the coronavirus is creating chaos, sugarcoating our education crisis will also be a disaster. With lights flashing red, politicos are rushing full steam ahead — on the wrong track.

We can’t trust the governor or lawmakers to fix our broken education system as ordered by the Yazzie/Martinez suit.

As one of the organizers of the suit that began 15 years ago, most politicos are guilty of nonfeasance. They’ve failed our kids for decades but still have the audacity to want the suit dismissed?

Don’t be fooled by tossing more money at teacher salaries or other soup du jour programs. As structured, it’s like just adding another taco day for our kids.

They’ve thrown more than $664 million against a shattered education structure with no plan.

Republican and Democrat administrations used to fund education at 55 percent of state spending. Today it’s about 46 percent, and politicos are gleefully chest-bumping for a minute increase in spending.

We need a lot more money, but well-spent money,  not  the “moon shots” our governor brags about. Even good ideas without a comprehensive plan are irresponsible.

We need a new educational paradigm — a new approach to education — because where we’re going is nose-diving. Ever wonder why Mexico has a higher literacy rate than New Mexico?

But, universities, the ones responsible for bringing us into the 21st century, seem oblivious to our “new reality”: Most students are and will always be culturally distinct.

The biggest failure is with Latino students, who outnumber white, Indian, black and Asian students — put together. Schools are failing to graduate half of Latino kids but, amazingly, there’s no specific focus on their needs.

When experts sounded an alarm by reporting it would take 100 years to eliminate the achievement gap between Latino and white students, community leaders responded by getting the Hispanic Education Act passed.

Its mission was to eliminate that gap. But 10 years later, zero dollars have been allocated to this mission with a measurable goal!

Latino elected officials are MIA advocates for their community. Black and Indian champions abound, while whites quietly dominate a disproportionate share of resources and jobs.

Gutless politicos can’t even utter the word “Latino,” much less fight for us. Latinos need new, unashamed champions to put our children, who make up 63 percent of all students, at the front of the line for programs, jobs, etc.

What’s the answer? Start with a comprehensive plan for a new education paradigm — it’s already been mostly articulated with all stakeholders’ input — with measurable goals, resources to meet those goals and a system responding in real time to what’s working or not working.

The governor and lawmakers have shown their disdain to follow the court’s directives. Only the court holds the power to make them comply with the law.

We should all urge the court not to dismiss this landmark suit that would improve the quality of lives of every New Mexican, but only if done right…

Jose Armas, PhD

Albuquerque

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