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IN THE NEWS

MEDIA COVERAGE

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March 7, 2024

Education wins and loses at the Legislature

The 2024 legislative session contained one big victory for public education and a few disappointments, the head of the local teachers’ union said Wednesday.

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March 7, 2024

The PED is moving forward on a controversial 180-day rule, with some changes.

After months of waiting, the New Mexico Public Education Department is moving forward with a controversial rule to require public schools to spend 180 days with students, the department announced Thursday.

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March 7, 2024

New Mexico adopts 180-day school calendar after public feedback

The New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) has adopted a statewide requirement of a minimum of 180 instructional days. The calendar rule will go into effect with the 2024-2025 school year.

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February 12, 2024

Budget clears state Senate with bipartisan support

“Our people are furious,” American Federation of Teachers New Mexico President Whitney Holland told the Journal. “... It’s hard to reconcile. Why is there a $3 billion surplus, but we’re having to beg for an extra 1%?”

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February 10, 2024

Legislature should authorize higher ed study.

The study would include recommendations for improved compensation structures as well as methods for achieving compensation increases. If passed, HM 32 would be a huge accomplishment in the fight for living wages for our state’s higher education workers.

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February 8, 2024

New high school graduation requirements head to the governor’s desk

A bill updating high school graduation requirements for New Mexico students passed the state senate floor in a 40-0 vote, and is now headed to the governor’s desk. It’s the second bill passed by both chambers this session.

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February 5, 2024

Six pieces of legislation make progress

With less than two weeks to go in the legislative session, bills are moving at a quickened pace, passing from one chamber to another and between committees. Below are six pieces of legislation that made forward progress on Feb. 1 and 2 in Santa Fe:

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February 4, 2024

Student loan 'bill of rights' legislation seeks to put guardrails on process

Lawmakers are pushing to pass New Mexico’s “Student Loan Bill of Rights,” a bill imposing additional regulations on student loan servicers — particularly private student loan providers — and offering additional rights and resources to student loan borrowers.

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January 29, 2024

House committee approves plan to rework New Mexico’s graduation requirements

“It’s that local flexibility, local control. We’re letting school districts decide what electives, how many, what’s best for kids at the local level,” said Whitney Holland, president of the American Federation of Teachers New Mexico.

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January 27, 2024

Educational assistants raise bill passes first committee

The House Education Committee has advanced two bills, including one that would boost public school employee pay. Both proposals have previously been endorsed by the Legislative Education Study Committee.

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January 20, 2024

SFCC is losing faculty because of pay

I am the union president for full-time faculty at SFCC, and have heard from at least seven faculty members who have left over the last four years because of the college’s low pay. All of these faculty members were dedicated to changing the lives of our students, but they could no longer afford to work at SFCC for the low salary that we pay with Santa Fe’s high cost of living.

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June 22, 2023

AFT New Mexico Holds Elections, Re-Elects Whitney Holland As President

American Federation of Teachers New Mexico President Whitney Holland and Executive Vice President Kathy Chavez released the following statements after their re-election at the 60th AFT NM Convention: "It is a great honor to be re-elected unanimously by delegates from across New Mexico at our union’s convention. This vote reflected the hard work our union is making to ensure every educator or healthcare worker we represent is seen, heard, and valued in this union..."

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March 31, 2023

New Mexico to cover majority of educator health insurance premiums

Some extra financial relief is coming to New Mexico educators. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a new law Thursday to cover more than half of health insurance premium costs for all New Mexico educators...

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March 28, 2023

Why Some Teachers’ Unions Oppose ‘Science of Reading’ Legislation

As more state legislatures seek to pass “science of reading” legislation this session, some teachers’ unions are mounting opposition—citing concerns about mandates that would limit teachers’ professional autonomy in the classroom and what they argue are unreasonable implementation timelines...

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January 30, 2023

Bill to drop high school graduation requirements passes committee

With New Mexico’s graduation rates lagging behind other states, some lawmakers say they’ve devised a bill that will keep students in school and better prepare them for life after the 12th grade...

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October 10, 2022

New Mexico teacher vacancy rate drops nearly 40 percent but remains high

When lawmakers advocated to raise teachers’ pay this year, they said it would attract more people to the profession and retain those currently working in schools — a necessary measure to address the 1,048 vacancies the state was facing.

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September 20, 2022

AFT New Mexico & Taos Federation of United School Employees React To Violent Incident At Taos High School

American Federation of Teachers New Mexico President Whitney Holland and Taos Federation of United School Employees (TFUSE) President Francis Hahn, issued the following statements...

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September 18, 2022

Luján introduces bill to expand New Mexico's teacher loan forgiveness program

U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Luján on Thursday introduced a bill that would expand student loan forgiveness for teachers working in early childhood education and “high-need” public schools.

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September 1, 2022

What the perfect storm of challenges teachers face reveals about inequality

In important ways, New Mexico illuminates how states might meaningfully address at least some of the problems beleaguering school districts. Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order in May that will trim by 25% the amount of administrative paperwork teachers must do. “By eliminating unnecessary burdens, our education heroes can focus on doing what we do best: teaching New Mexico students,” Whitney Holland, the president of the New Mexico branch of the American Federation of Teachers, told the CNN affiliate KOAT-TV...

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July 26, 2022

Retired educators now eligible to return to work without losing pension benefits

New Mexico’s 48,000 retired K-12 and higher education educators now have the opportunity to return to the classroom without losing their retirement benefits thanks to a new law enacted by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham this year...

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May 28, 2022

UNM SRMC Health-Care Workers File For Union

An effort to unionize health-care workers at UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center became official last week. The move to form the public employee union is a joint effort by the American Federation of Teachers New Mexico and the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers Lodge #794...

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May 24, 2022

IAM-AFT Joint Healthcare Organizing Partnership Program Files for Union Election of 500 New Mexico Healthcare Professionals

The IAM and American Federation of Teachers New Mexico (AFT NM) have filed a majority of union recognition cards with the New Mexico Public Employee Labor Relations Board (NMPELRB) for almost 500 frontline healthcare workers at Sandoval Regional Medical Center...

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April 29, 2022

AFT NM endorses governor, lieutenant governor

AFT New Mexico’s Executive Council has unanimously endorsed Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Lt. Gov. Howie Morales for re-election to a second term. Four years ago, Gov. Lujan Grisham promised a significant change in direction for public education in New Mexico after eight years of the Martinez administration, and she has kept her promises to New Mexico’s educational professionals...

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January 23, 2022

AFT president says National Guard volunteers will keep schools open

The president of the state teachers union says the educator shortage in New Mexico is at a crisis level. “There’s a history of low pay. Right now, New Mexico educators make less than the surrounding states,” says Whitney Holland, president of the American Federation of Teachers New Mexico. “I think there’s a workload problem, I think there’s a disrespect problem. You name it, it was the perfect storm – then you add COVID to the mix..."

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January 15, 2022

Teacher pay in New Mexico needs to increase

In 2003, the average new teacher earned 14 percent less than workers with similar education and work experience, often while accumulating vast amounts of debt prior to even entering a classroom. New Mexico is not exempt from this trend: We have the third-highest teacher wage penalty in the country, with public school teachers earning nearly 30 percent less than non-teacher college graduates.

October 28, 2021

Teachers union critical of superintendent emails

A teacher union representing Socorro educators asked Socorro Superintendent Ron Hendrix to take corrective action after sending an all staff email about upcoming elections. Hendrix took the action, sending a follow-up email, but says he did nothing wrong...

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