ALBURQUEQUE (KRQE) - Teachers, students and parents gathered by the dozens, protesting against a series of new state education reforms.
With rumors of possible strikes circulating, protesters who marched outside an Albuquerque high school Tuesday say they are desperate for the state's attention.
Hundreds of people gathered at Del Norte High School, all looking to send a message.
“This is what happens when you’re not listened to,” Albuquerque Public School board member Kathy Korte said. “People get angry and it was easier than we thought to say, ‘We’re going to rally.”
Barbara Pearlman with Truth or Consequences Municipal Schools said she's speaking out for students and teachers alike.
“If we feel intimidated by the state department, by the Public Education Department, and we can’t speak out, how can our students speak out?” she asked. “And if we don’t stand up for them, for our students in the state, who will?”
Protest organizers say the PED teacher evaluations are simply unfair and they're going into place without legislative input.
Secondly, they say those evaluations mean more standardized testing for already burdened students, which also determine 50 percent of a teacher's performance. It's gotten to the point where some teachers, including those in Albuquerque Public Schools, are considering a strike.
Governor Susana Martinez, on the other side of the argument, said Tuesday that the evaluations are the right kind to have in place. She says New Mexico children and their education can’t continue being at the bottom and it's up the teachers to change that.
“We’ve got to reform it and we’ve got to be bold about it and we’ve got to do it now,” Martinez said. “We can’t afford to lose two or three more years or school grades because we’re taking our time.”
New Mexico currently ranks 49th in the nation when it comes to education, according to Martinez. She says continuing push-back and talks of striking will not help the situation at all.
The Albuquerque Teachers Federation warned members last week of a no-strike clause in their contract, but the union president also said she would gladly go to jail if breaking the clause is necessary.
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