The Chaves County Republican Women’s Luncheon will host a talk by New Mexico Secretary of Education Hanna Skandera at noon on Wednesday. Skandera will discuss her plans for the future of education in the state.
The speech was arranged by State Representative Nora Espinoza (R-District 59), former president of the Republican Women and one-time educator herself.
Espinoza is also a member of the State House Education Committee and is appalled at the state of education in New Mexico. “We are graduating children who then have to get remedial education when they go to college. We pay. The taxpayers are paying for that,” she said.
Espinoza views Skandera as a reformer with the leadership that New Mexico needs. “I could not endure what she has put up with. It’s been an uphill battle for her.” Yet she noted that graduation rates have soared 7 percent since Skandera came to office. Native Americans, Hispanics and the disabled have seen the greatest gains in terms of graduation.
Skandera’s goals include ensuring all students can read proficiently by the end of third grade through reading intervention. “Reading is the key,” said Espinoza. “Our children must master the minors — reading, writing and math. If they can’t read, then they can’t move on to the rest of the basics.”
Skandera opposes the unions. She would like to see teachers held accountable for every students’ performance. She implemented an understandable uniform grading system for all New Mexico schools. Espinoza was pleased that Roswell and Goddard high schools received Bs. “Skandera has raised the bar,” she said.
Current CCRW President Joan Boue is another educator. Speaking of the program ‘No Child Left Behind,’ she said: “We lowered our standards for the other students. … Our children are our future.”
Boue repeated that this is not a political luncheon. “It is open to everyone. If there’s an issue, this is the time to ask questions. Our mission is to inform and educate the people of Roswell.”
The school board, administrators and teachers have also been invited to attend. One topic that will not be discussed is truancy, although Espinoza said: “We need to put the responsibility back on the parents to get their children to school. Parents must quit blaming the school system.”
The lunch costs $11, but people do not have to eat in order to listen to Skandera speak. However, Boue asks those coming to notify Judie Yeager in advance, at 626-9902.