The political terms “conservative,” “liberal,” and “progressive” are among the most confused words in current political discourse. However, it is clear that when it comes to education in New Mexico, Gov. Martinez and supporters of reforms like A-F school grading and a ban on social promotion (of both parties) are among the “progressives” in the State. By that, I mean the best possible definition of “progressive” which is: making progress toward better conditions; employing oradvocating more enlightened or liberal ideas, new or experimental methods.
Those who want to kill these reforms, ie: some in the Legislature, the school districts who are demanding more money to simply do their jobs, and the teachers unions, are the “conservatives.” They are perfectly happy with the status quo in which New Mexico is perpetually among the bottom 5 — if not the bottom two — in educational outputs.
Of course, there are “progressive” reformers from all corners including the Albuquerque Journal which had an excellent editorial calling for an end to social promotion, the New Mexico Business Roundtable, which had an excellent opinion piece on the same topic, and many other organizations and individuals. But, until concerned parents either rally in the streets or vote out those who oppose reforms (or both), supporters of the status quo who are perfectly comfortable with failing half of New Mexico’s children will continue to hold our education system hostage and deny the blessings of a good education to large numbers of New Mexico children.