AFT’s Weingarten and AFT New Mexico’s Holland React to Signing of ‘Education Moonshot’ Bills
SANTA FE, N.M.—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and American Federation of Teachers New Mexico President Whitney Holland issued the following joint statement championing the signing of key state education bills:
“Yesterday’s bill signing lays the groundwork to rebuild the education profession in New Mexico, making education a career that our communities see as viable and respected. It is the result of years of effort and activism from New Mexico educators and parents, achieved with Gov. Lujan Grisham’s steadfast leadership and support.
“These investments to retain veteran and attract new educators could not come at a more important time. The legislation, along with other measures, will help educators rely on one job—not two or three—to sustain their families, while ensuring their pension benefits are secure. The residency program and incentives for retirees to return to classrooms will help tackle the teacher shortage, and better prepare our newer educators.
“Gov. Lujan Grisham’s ‘Education Moonshot’ shows her commitment to the opportunity for kids to recover and thrive, and for educators to be valued and respected, are not simply words, but deeds. She made a promise to New Mexico that education would be important, and she delivered. And she did so with bipartisan support in the legislature.
“At this critical moment, laws like these are exactly what educators need—to be seen, heard, and know that relief is on the way. Nationwide, educators continue to face politically motivated attacks for what we teach and how we teach it and are being blamed and shamed for a pandemic that we have helped our students through. New Mexico has firmly rejected this false narrative, and instead has doubled down on our shared values of fighting for the public schools our kids deserve, which require respecting educators and honoring the work they do on behalf of our students and communities.
“We were proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with the governor yesterday as she enacted these measures, and we celebrate her efforts to respect our profession; recruit new educators into our schools and institutions of higher education; and retain skilled, veteran educators in our classrooms.”
Yesterday, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed SB1, SB 36, HB 13, HB 57, and HB 73 at a ceremony at a local Santa Fe elementary school. These measures raise teacher compensation, secure New Mexico’s educational pension fund, expand paid teacher residencies, hold transportation funding harmless, and eased restrictions for veteran educators to return to work to ease our educator vacancies throughout New Mexico.
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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.