Native American students

courtesy of Dr. Assata Zerai / University of New Mexico

On Wednesday, the University of New Mexico Board of Regents approved a new official seal design. The decision comes after years of advocacy by Native American students and faculty who said the old seal, featuring a conquistador and a frontiersman, celebrated genocide and colonial oppression. But the Regent’s final selection is not the design that won a popular vote, and that has many people feeling left out of what was supposed to be an inclusive process. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM

The University of New Mexico Board of Regents is expected to vote on Wednesday, Oct. 20 on a new official seal design. The move follows many years of campaigning by students and faculty with the UNM Kiva Club and the Red Nation, who say the old seal, depicting a frontiersman and a conquistador, celebrates genocide and conquest. But the old seal is far more the only symbol at UNM that reflects racism against Indigenous people, says Alysia Coriz, a Native American Studies major and co-president of the Kiva Club. She spoke with KUNM earlier this year about how she would like to see the university address other instances of racist imagery on campus, including places named after violent colonizers. 

Let's Talk Educational Inequities In A COVID World

Jun 24, 2020
Hannah Colton / KUNM

Let's Talk New Mexico 6/25, 8a: Teachers, parents and students are facing tough questions about what classes will look like as the pandemic stretches into the fall. The struggle for equity in the system is ongoing; a judge next week could decide whether the state will stay under court order to fix racial and socioeconomic disparities. And some programs meant to serve marginalized students had their budgets cut in this week’s special legislative session. This week on Let’s Talk New Mexico, we’re talking K-12 education, and we want to hear from you. What systemic changes do you want to see in public schools? Email letstalk@kunm.org, or call in live during the show at 277-5866.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Across New Mexico, public schools fail to provide bilingual instruction that’s appropriate for Native American students. Educators at a tribal education center in the Pueblo of Zuni have recieved a state grant to teach Zuni language in a way they say is more connected to their culture.  

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Parents, educators and tribal leaders from several Pueblos in New Mexico and the Navajo Nation gathered this week in Albuquerque to advocate for better public schooling. It’s been just over a year since a racist incident on Halloween in 2018, when students say their English teacher used a slur and cut a Native American students’ hair. Some say the district has not done enough to address the incident, and APS officials say there's a related lawsuit pending against the district. A few dozen community members attended a forum on Thursday, Nov. 14. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM


    

New Mexico politicians paid lip service this election cycle to a landmark education ruling about inequities in public schools. But no one was drawing a line between the Yazzie-Martinez case and an issue that’s had students walking out of classes this fall – climate change. Verland Coker, a 26-year-old Albuquerque school board candidate, makes that connection, calling out the hypocrisy of an education system here that relies on oil and gas money.

HANNAH COLTON / KUNM

Voters in Albuquerque will choose three new school board members on Tuesday, Nov. 5. Those officials will shape the district’s budget and policies, and they’ll hire a new superintendent—all at a time when a landmark education ruling points to huge disparities in the quality of public schooling kids get across the state. KUNM’s Marisa Demarco spoke with education reporter Hannah Colton about what’s at stake with the school board race.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

New Mexico has failed to provide schooling that’s culturally appropriate and sufficient for many students of color – that’s according to a landmark education ruling last year. Now, school board elections are approaching for the state’s largest district. Anti-racist community organizers invited Albuquerque Public Schools board candidates to a public forum last week and questioned them on their understanding of systemic racism in schools and what they hope to do about it.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Lawmakers and state education officials met with representatives of northern New Mexico school districts for several days last week. The interim meeting of the Legislative Education Study Committee was held in Dulce, near Chama, up by the New Mexico-Colorado state line.

Yazzie Attorney: Education Funding Still Too Scarce

Jul 3, 2019
Hannah Colton/KUNM

The New Mexico legislature this spring passed increases in education funding, in response to a judge’s order saying the state has violated the constitutional rights of at-risk students. Last week, attorneys for the plaintiffs filed a notice with the court saying the state has not done nearly enough.

APS Budget Would Boost Funding For At Risk Students

May 21, 2019
Hannah Colton / KUNM

Albuquerque Public Schools has finalized a nearly $1.5 billion budget. It reflects a nearly 14% hike in state funding, even though enrollment is dropping. The new money is in response to a landmark education equity ruling.

Hannah Colton / KUNM Public Radio

The Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission will hold a series of public hearings throughout March to gather reports of mistreatment of Native American students in K-12 schools in and around the Navajo Nation. 

Navajo Tech

Tribal colleges are the only public higher education institutions in New Mexico where students cannot use the state lottery scholarship. A measure approved by the Senate Education Committee on Friday morning would change that.

Gov. Approves Additions To Indian Education Law

Feb 4, 2019

New Mexico’s Indian Education Act just got an update. A bill signed by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham on Monday spells out how school districts must study the needs of their Native American students and come up with systematic ways to address them.

The new measure requires school districts with Native American students to develop frameworks and budget priorities to help those students succeed.

Hannah Colton / KUNM Public Radio

Albuquerque Public Schools is grappling with how to respond to critics who say the district disrespects and ignores Native American culture and history.

A public meeting APS held last week underscored a disconnect between what the district is promising and the systemic changes that many people want to see.

Hannah Colton / KUNM Public Radio

Albuquerque Public Schools held an open meeting Thursday night in response to the October incident in which students say a Cibola High School teacher used a racial slur and cut the hair of a Native American student. Parents, students and advocates told school officials that the district’s response has been too little and too late. 

Let's Talk Fixing Education In New Mexico

Jan 22, 2019
Hannah Colton / KUNM Public Radio

Let’s Talk New Mexico 1/24 8a: Fixing inequalities in New Mexico’s public school system is a top priority for lawmakers this year. This Thursday morning we’ll explore how to do this huge, complicated task and balance the needs of so many diverse students.  Are you an educator, an administrator, a student, a parent? Do you have your own ideas on how to create equity in public schools? We'd like to hear from you! Email LetsTalk@KUNM.org or call in live during the show.

Office of the New Mexico Governor

This is the year for an overhaul of New Mexico’s public education system. That was at the heart of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s message to lawmakers during her State of the State remarks.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Public education is the top issue as state lawmakers begin their 60-day session on Tuesday, and there’s oil and gas money to spend.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

UPDATE 12/4: A teacher accused of targeting Native American students in an incident on Halloween resigned from her job with Albuquerque Public Schools, effective Friday, November 30.

Former Cibola High School teacher Mary Eastin confirmed on Tuesday that she chose to end her employment at the district.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

A prominent New Mexico lawmaker threatened to shut the public out of a legislative committee meeting concerning a landmark education lawsuit after journalists brought recording equipment.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

New Mexico’s Public Education Department is planning to appeal a court ruling last month that found the state violated the rights of at-risk students by failing to provide an adequate education. Judge Sarah Singleton’s decision doesn’t tell the department exactly what changes to make but says it must do better by its low-income students, Native American students, those with disabilities and English-language learners.

Let's Talk Indigenous Education

Aug 1, 2018
Hannah Colton / KUNM

Let's Talk New Mexico 8/2 8a: Research shows that learning about one's own history and culture can keep students engaged and lead to better educational outcomes. A recent court ruling found New Mexico's Public Education Department is failing its Native American students, in part by not providing adequate culturally relevant materials. Did you have access to Native American Studies or classes taught in your Native language?

Landmark Education Ruling Calls For Systemic Change

Jul 23, 2018
La Veu del País Valencià via Flickr / Creative Commons License

A state court ruled Friday that New Mexico’s education system fails to provide an adequate education to at-risk students, as required by the state’s constitution. In her ruling, Judge Sarah Singleton outlined the harm done to economically disadvantaged students, Native American students, English Language Learners, and students with disabilities. 

KUNM's Hannah Colton spoke with staff attorney Ernest Herrera of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, who’s been working the case for years.