Charter schools in New Mexico run the gamut – from National Blue Ribbon Schools, to several that have been closed due to mismanagement. Governor Susana Martinez joined a national campaign focusing on school choice this week.
Students from nearly a dozen charter schools gathered at the state capitol on Monday. After a brief address by Education Secretary Hanna Skandera, students from the Media Arts Collaborative Charter school in Albuquerque led a flash mob in the rotunda. A couple of their classmates videotaped it.
Marcie Hromas is a special education assistant at MACCS, where she said students get more support for their creative pursuits.
"I think that if we do want to have kids who are really thinking outside the box for the struggles that we have in our world, that we really need to be fostering that creative side of them," said Hromas, "and I find that at charter schools, we’re able to do that, whereas in [traditional] public schools, it's getting harder and harder.”
New Mexico charter schools spend more public dollars per student than traditional public schools, with similar academic results, according to a legislative report last year.
Lawmakers have proposed a three-year halt on any new charter schools. The Martinez administration strongly opposes that measure.
The New Mexico Coalition for Charter Schools will hold a school choice fair on February 2 at North Valley Academy in Albuquerque.
The People, Power and Democracy project examines ethics, transparency and accountability in state government. It's a collaborative, multi-media partnership between KUNM-FM, New Mexico PBS, New Mexico In Depth and the New Mexico News Port. The project is funded by the Thornburg Foundation and by contributions from KUNM listeners.