Dear Editor: Accountability begins in the home

September 20, 2015 • Dear Editor

In response to the letter sent by Eloy Ortega, I am saddened by yet another senseless loss of life here in Roswell. While you bring up a few valid points, I think you missed the biggest one.
Allow me to explain. I believe where everything should begin is at home. Parents need to instill values and morals into their children. Parents need to step up and act like parents. They need to realize they are raising the future.
Hold children accountable for their actions, love them, teach them the sanctity of life, respect, right and wrong. That alone would raise a better generation. We now live in a community devoid of conscience, with no remorse and no accountability.
Drug prevention programs will do nothing for those that are not taught what drugs do and where they lead. Nothing for those who live around it daily and see nothing wrong with it. Plenty of people struggle financially, I have at various points in my life. It’s what you do with that and the choices you make that set you on a particular path. See a common theme here? Accountability.
Parents, step up and set a great example for your children. I am the parent of a 19-year-old who is currently studying nuclear engineering. To be honest, my husband and I had minimal problems with him.
Why? We were forthright and honest with him, instilled values and held him to those values. We are his parents, not his friends. Please, do invite God into your lives, teach your children to pray.
Take them to church, teach them to be better, kinder. Just don’t forget the lesson between the altar and the door. When we hold each other accountable, and see everyone as equals, big changes will come.
Sandi Loomis
New Mexico’s kids deserve the best
Education reform is a must and there needs to be a clear goal: a strong and bright future for the State of New Mexico. At the center of this goal is our children and making sure they receive the best education possible.
It is a fact that the same policies from the past 50 years get us nowhere. Our kids haven’t been getting what they deserve because the same playbook calls for blindly throwing money at a problem, or simply passing the buck onto someone else.
For example just six years ago, 99 percent of our teachers were being rated as effective yet schools were at the bottom of every ranking imaginable. Education spending went up and up, but tax dollars were financing red tape and more bureaucrats instead of initiatives to promote a strong education.
With Gov. Susana Martinez, we began to turn things around. To start, we directed spending directly into the classroom to promote accountability and results!
One major focus was creating programs and initiatives focused on literacy. Because when a child learns to read, for the rest of their life they are reading to learn.
This past legislative session, we voted to increase funding to K-3 Plus as well as expand reading initiatives like “Reads to Lead” to even more schools across the state.
Another top priority is to end the old, failed policy of social promotion. Because as a state, we cannot just pass the buck when it comes to students who struggle or fall behind.
If a child is not learning and not succeeding, we wrongly pass them onto the next grade. They are socially promoted, and for years that has always been the case. We are told this puts them in the same grade as their peers and they will be better for it.
At the same time, social promotion creates an environment where struggling kids don’t actually learn the material they need to go onto the next grade. A socially promoted 3rd grader doesn’t grasp the material and knowledge needed to succeed in the fourth grade and so on.
So what happens? They get tired, they give up and they don’t learn. Retention is a last resort; instead, with resources and initiatives designed to help kids who struggle early on we identify problem areas and work to address them.
At the end of the day, we want to end a failed mentality concerning education. Social promotion is saying some kids can’t learn, won’t learn so pass the buck.
Republicans in the House and Senate have worked with the Governor and even some Democrats to bring this failed approach to an end.
We know that the two parties can agree on this issue. Democrat and Republican lawmakers favored ending social promotion before.
On top of that, recent polling shows an overwhelming majority of New Mexico supports repeal. In the past, prominent Democrats like President Obama and former President Bill Clinton have also called social promotion a failed education policy.
We should have a debate and we should have a vote. Let’s do what is right for our kids, continue to focus on helping those who struggle and create a better environment so all of New Mexico’s children can be this bright future that they deserve to be.

Nora Espinoza, Monica Youngblood and John Zimmerman
New Mexico House of Representatives

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