NEW MEXICO — It’s been a rough few years for New Mexico.
For the past six years, the state has struggled to find its footing after a series of disasters, including the devastating 2013 Super Bowl floods and the 2009-10 pandemic.
But the new year brought an end to that drought of bad news.
That’s when the state’s school board voted to take a look at the possibility of making it more inclusive.
And now the governor is calling on lawmakers to pass a bill that would do just that.
New Mexico State Board of Education President Michael O’Brien says the school board needs to be proactive and proactive in making sure students are taken care of.
The board voted 3-1 Tuesday night to move forward with the bill, which would establish a program to hire and train teachers for the first time in more than 20 years.
O’Briens bill also would set up a statewide teacher training program and provide $4 million for the new statewide school board.
The bill has been referred to the state Senate and is expected to be heard by the full board on Jan. 1.
O’Brien said the state will have to wait to see if the bill becomes law, but he said the school system has already shown it can handle a changing climate and a teacher shortage.
“This is something that I’m really excited about,” he said.
“I think we have a really talented workforce that is ready to work for New Mexicans.
I’m excited about what they can do.”
New Mexico already has some of the best teachers in the country, with more than 2,000 positions open and over 40,000 applicants in the past year, according to the New Mexico Department of Education.
But that’s not enough to meet the needs of the state.
About 50 percent of New Mexicans earn less than $45,000 annually, and many people are struggling to get by.
Oriole Park High School Principal John Darnell said the current teachers shortage is not due to a lack of good teachers.
It’s due to the lack of qualified applicants and a shortage of teachers.
“I’m not going to make excuses,” Darnells said.
“But I will say that the number of students that are being taught is down from what it was in 2015.
So we’re dealing with a huge challenge.
And the state of New Mexico is going to have to get this thing right.”