by Kevin Brown | February 18, 2015
Hundreds of community activists including educators, parents and union members marched on the New Mexico Capitol in Santa Fe for the "Voices United For Our Students" day of activities. Participants gathered at the Santa Fe Railyard and then marched to the Roundhouse to send a clear message to anti-worker lawmakers.
“How is it, when a state is 49th in children’s wellbeing, that instead of talking about wrap-around services in schools, we’re talking about sanctions and testing?” Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers asked the crowd. “How is it that in a state that is known for music and art, we don’t have music or art in schools?
“This is why I’m here, this is a moral fight, a ground up fight to reclaim the promise of our schools,” she said. “We are at a fork in the road. New Mexico, unlike anywhere else in the nation, is actually pushing the so-called corporate reforms that haven’t worked anywhere they’ve been tried.”
Several bills, including a mandatory flunking bill, funding for increased testing of public school children, and so-called right-to-work legislation, are under consideration by New Mexico legislators and have caused a groundswell of opposition during this legislative session.
“AFSCME is proud to stand alongside our sisters and brothers in the AFT and the NEA, and Equality New Mexico” Connie Derr, executive director of AFSCME Council 18, told the crowd. “Your struggles are our struggles. Our struggles are your struggles.
“We will fight together for better jobs, with fair evaluation systems,” Derr said. “We will fight for workers’ rights, for stronger communities and for a return to respect for those who make the state of New Mexico work.”
Following the rally, activists entered the state Capitol building to lobby legislators and urge them to oppose anti-worker legislation, the failed student testing model being pushed by out-of-state corporations, and a punitive teacher evaluation system that is forcing good teachers out of the profession.
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