Dr. Christine Sleeter, National Expert on Multicultural Education, to Testify on Wednesday, Martinez v. State of NM

Many people are asking about the testimony of Dr. Christine Sleeter. She will be in Santa Fe this Wednesday, June 21st. Please note: Things do change. Even though this is a class action law suit, it is dynamic and sometimes witness testimony times are moved, due to uncontrollable circumstances or other witnesses are asked to finish a lengthy cross-examination, also causing time changes.
At this time, Dr. Sleeter will most likely testify Wednesday morning. Judge Singleton usually starts at 8:15 or 8:30, but sometimes does begin at 8, when the building opens. I suggest arriving at 8 AM, if you are interested in hearing Dr. Sleeter’s testimony.
Dr. Sleeter is a TOP Leading Authority on Multicultural Education. Her latest work is in Ethnic Studies, Critical Family History and Whiteness in Teacher Education. In her blog, you will see an entry about the Martinez law suit, second entry down on home page. http://christinesleeter.org/
You are not allowed to bring in guns (of course), knives (of course), glass, lighters, mace into the courthouse. You can bring in your cell phone and a beverage (as long as in paper or plastic container).
DIRECTIONS to free parking garage and courthouse.
Take Saint Francis exit
At the Cerrillos intersection turn right
Get into the right lane
At the second light turn right at Paseo de Peralta
Get into the left lane
At the Galisteo light turn left
On the right hand side is the free and large NM State Parking Garage
The courthouse is two blocks north and a block west from the parking garage.
I am not claiming to represent any other organizations, but if you want to see some great updates on the Martinez and Yazzie case(s), here are some helpful links.
New Mexico Center for Law and Poverty:  @NMPovertyLaw
NEA New Mexico: @NEANewMexico 
Latino Education Task Force: @eliminatethegap
Marisa Bono: @MarisaBono
Diane Torres-Velásquez: @professortorres 
Bernice Garcia Baca: @bernice14 


Happy Father’s Day and WEEK ONE: Martinez v. State of NM

Happy Father’s Day to all our fathers and to you, if you are a father. Happy Father’s Day to the memories of our forefathers who did all they could in their lifetime to protect and advance public education in New Mexico. As we celebrate these fathers, I would like to provide a very brief update on the first week of the Martinez and Yazzie v. State of NM cases (Although please note that I am not representing  MALDEF, the Center, attorneys, plaintiffs and certainly not defendants. This update is coming from me and I encourage you to attend this historic case to learn more, if you are able.)
The first week of trial was pretty incredible! It started off with a press conference organized by the communications specialists of MALDEF and NM Center for Law and Poverty. The trial began at 9 AM and the courtroom was standing room only. The first witness to testify was none other than our beloved and former NM Secretary of Education Dr. Veronica Garcia (currently superintendent of Santa Fe). Superintendent Garcia testified Monday morning and was asked to return all day Thursday. She did an incredible job of telling what education is for New Mexico’s children, especially now in Santa Fe.
All the superintendents who have plaintiffs in their district (or whose districts are plaintiffs) were asked to testify. I have many more heroes and sheroes after hearing their testimony. Lake Arthur Superintendent Mike Grossman testified on Tuesday “I go to sleep at night praying for cooler summers and warmer winters.” Grossman explained districts can’t keep up with rising utility costs, among many other necessities he described in his testimony.
Espanola Associate Superintendent of Curriculum Mayra Martinez  testified on Wednesday and Thursday. Mostly she talked about the historically rich cultural context of Espanola, the unique needs of her district and their attempts to support their teachers and their students, which fall short due to lack of funding. She pointed out their goals to meet all the needs of their students and also the unmet needs of students, especially of their most vulnerable students. When asked about the 61% graduation rate, she responded, “All I can see is the 40% that don’t make it.”
It appeared to me that some people in that courtroom had tears in their eyes from listening to the extreme hardships superintendents were describing in NM. Superintendents all shared examples of the effects of lack of adequate funding in their districts, and of the hardships on teachers and students. They also shared how hard teachers and staff work to provide the best possible education for their students, and how in every case they fall short, as evidenced by the data.
Superintendent Garcia ended her testimony on Thursday after constantly correcting the PED attorneys on major facts and figures. When asked on Thursday afternoon, June 22 2017, why Santa Fe Public Schools joined this law suit, there was silence. She reflected sadly for a moment and then carefully stated the following, only to be interrupted near the end by the PED attorneys so that the court might not fully hear her answer, but we all heard her Powerful message. She said:
  • There is a severe lack of funding across the state.
  • Districts do not have the revenues to provide the services needed by all students.
  • Funding levels are far below what is needed by districts.
  • There is mounting pressure from the PED and the federal government to comply with reform initiatives that don’t work.
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY, It is a moral imperative about being able to serve our kids. It’s about public education being a civil right.
For more updates this coming week, here are some helpful links.
New Mexico Center for Law and Poverty:  @NMPovertyLaw
NEA New Mexico: @NEANewMexico 
Latino Education Task Force: @eliminatethegap
Marisa Bono: @MarisaBono
Diane Torres-Velásquez: @professortorres 
Bernice Garcia Baca: @bernice14 

Public Education Café

Join us for coffee to discuss the Martínez v. State of New Mexico law suit.

Date: Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Time: 5 PM

Location: YDI Wool Warehouse, 518 First St. N.W.. (First and Roma), Albuquerque, NM 87102 (There is construction on First Street between Lomas & Roma. We suggest taking 2nd street to Roma and then heading East to 1st street.)

RSVP (not required): Dolores at 505-900-2681 (Dolores will also provide directions, if needed.)


  1. Introductions and Announcements
  2. Affinity Exercise – Your Dream for Education In New Mexico
  3. Martínez v. State of New Mexico Law Suit
  4. Updates, Upcoming Rally and Other Events

Martínez v. State of New Mexico

Anyone living in New Mexico knows we consistently come in last when it comes to our children’s welfare and public education.  Our educational system is in decay. Public education in New Mexico has suffered decades of budget cuts, top down reform and high-stakes testing that don’t take into consideration our children, our teachers, research, or our state’s constitutional requirement for a “sufficient education.

The Law Suit

In 2014, 51 parents and children from seven New Mexico communities* filed a suit against the New Mexico Public Education Department for its failure to ensure access to a “sufficient education” as guaranteed by the New Mexico State Constitution. Martínez v. State of New Mexico has been called the most comprehensive education lawsuit in the nation.

Right away, the lawsuit garnered a win. Judge Sarah Singleton proclaimed that public education is a “fundamental right,” in New Mexico. This is a groundbreaking legal ruling for our state and a cornerstone to reclaim New Mexico’s public education for our children.

This Lawsuit is About…

  • Giving New Mexico’s students equal access to the opportunities they need in the classroom to meet their full potential, closing the achievement gaps and ensuring educational opportunities for all students.
  • Holding the State accountable to the New Mexico Constitution.
  • Ensuring appropriate monitoring and supervision of schools that is not arbitrary, but is rational and supports a sufficient education.
  • Ensuring additional funds are targeted to meet the special needs of high-needs students.
  • Ruling on the constitutional claims at stake and ordering a remedy to address the systemic deficiencies.

This is a Springboard to a Movement

This lawsuit will affect the education of every student and teacher and every household in New Mexico. It is a culmination of decades of ongoing efforts and a resurgence of hope. We would like to see this lawsuit become a catalyst and a springboard to organizing a movement toward providing our students with a sufficient education.  This movement should be important to you, if you are interested in:

  • Respect for Public Education
  • Teachers treated with Integrity
  • Guaranteed Funding that is Adequate for all public schools
  • High-Quality PreK
  • Family Engagement
  • Multilingual/Multicultural Education and Ethnic Studies
  • Perfect Equality, as per our state constitution
  • A broad educational spectrum that grounds our children in their worth and wills them to greater heights.

Public Education Café

Join us for coffee to discuss the Martinez v. State of New Mexico law suit.

Date: Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Time: 5 PM

Location: YDI Wool Warehouse, 518 First St. N.W.. Albuquerque, NM 87102

RSVP (not required): Dolores at 505-900-2681 (Dolores will also provide directions, if needed.)


  1. Introductions and Announcements
  2. Affinity Exercise – Your Dream for Education In New Mexico
  3. Organizing a Public Information Campaign


New Mexico and the Right to A Sufficient Education

Montez, Education and the Spanish Speaking

In New Mexico, we are blessed to have inherited a Constitution that protects bilingual education, that promises a Sufficient Education for ALL students, and that promises Perfect Equality. This article by Rey Montez published in 1973 incorporates interviews with Lt. Governor Roberto Mondragon and Attorney General David Norvell. The history of our state and of our Constitution are historically analyzed in the process of explaining the provisions of Article XII (on public education) section 8. In particular. Martinez v. State of New Mexico was based on the rights afforded by our New Mexico State Constitution. Our forefathers were visionaries who went to great lengths to protect our heritage. In working with parents, community and our attorneys from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), we provided this article because it is the basis of our law suit. We are demanding a Sufficient Education for our students (beyond money) and Perfect Equality (in terms of a curriculum that we know draws on our students’ strengths and the gifts of their culture and language.)

The Network for Public Education Rates States: Where does New Mexico fall?

There are so many questions about charter schools. While there appear to be some advantages in terms of motivation for some students when you talk with them, the research is showing strong detriments to public schools as a result (non-charter). Please see where New Mexico is rated. Please educate your legislators.

Educating our Members on Some Background of the Opt Out Movement to Preserve Public Education

News information thanks to Dr. Rick Meyer~~~

I would add a correction to this article. The students who started the school walkout movement in the spring, worked with APS to start Voices in Action (VIA) before the end of the school year. They were regular high school and middle school students. Some have gone on to college, and persist in helping their younger peers to organize and stand for their rights. Jacob Gil, is a concerned father who became involved in late August, when there were issues about the ethical leadership of the prior administration. Their ability to get high numbers of concerned parents and students demonstrated their conviction. The pressure of their consistent messages swayed the district board members to do a better job informing students and families of the tests, their rights, and how to opt out. Jacob has met numerous times with board members.

In case you missed it, Reverend Barber was in Albuquerque speaking at the NM Voices conference in the early summer. His keynote address was highly inspirational for all who attended. His biggest message was to stay strong for the welfare of the students. “We cannot afford to get tired or depressed. Until our students’ rights are provided in full, we must keep moving forward, TOGETHER!”

——— ———-
From: Network for Public Education <info@networkforpubliceducation.org>

by Carol Burris

The Power of Opt Out to Preserve Public Education

Jeanette Deutermann did not intend to become the leader of the most effective opt out organization in the United States. She was a suburban mom trying to figure out why her son no longer wanted to go to school.

The year that Long Island Opt Out began, Tyler Deutermann was an unhappy fourth grader with school anxiety that was increasing every day. During the month of February of 2012, Jeanette began investigating why her son who once loved school so much, now hated it.

“I saw it emerge a little bit during testing season in third grade”, Deutermann said. “But then the test anxiety became constant in fourth grade. After speaking with teachers and parents, I knew it was the testing.”

The 2011-12 school year was the first year that teachers in New York State were to be evaluated by the test scores of their students. Anxiety across the board was running high. She read a letter signed by over one third of New York’s principals that explained why evaluating teachers by test scores would have unintended negative consequences on students. Jeanette began to connect the dots, and she realized that high-stakes testing was the reason that her child and his education were falling apart. “I had to speak out and let other parents know. I felt like a whistleblower—I did not have a choice,” she explained.

Tyler, she decided, would not take the test. In order to organize other like-minded parents, she began a Facebook group—Long Island Opt-Out. It started out small—the first year 1,000 students on Long Island refused the test. Membership in the group ballooned to over 16,000 in year two. Today Long Island Opt Out has over 23,000 members.

Opt Out has spread across the state of New York like a wildfire. In the spring of 2014, between 55,000 and 65,000 students refused to take the 3-8 Common Core tests, with about half of those numbers coming from Long Island. In 2015, the number was in excess of 200,000 test refusals—which meant that 20% of all possible test takers’ parents said, “not my child”.

New York is not alone in test resistance. Opt out in Florida began when Florida teacher, Ceresta Smith, joined five others from Florida, Colorado, Maryland, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania to start a national organization, United Opt Out. By 2013, the Florida opt out movement began to take off. According to parent activist, Sandy Stenoff, “We formed Opt Out Orlando in the spring of 2013 as a way to start with our local community, and in anticipation of Common Core rolling out. The group has grown steadily, but exploded this year, with the implementation of the new CCSS-aligned Florida State Assessment, particularly because of the technical challenges of online implementation.“

As a result of pleas from parents across the state, Stenoff, via Opt Out Orlando, started to help local districts start their own opt out groups in 2014. They were aided in their effort this year when Florida Education Commissioner, Pam Stewart, announced that there would be no opt outs on her watch. Numbers skyrocketed from 800 to 3,000 in one month. Stenoff sees opt out in her state growing steadily. There are now more than 40 opt out groups in 34 of Florida’s 67 districts. As of last week, we are now The Opt Out Florida Network.”

Last year about 4,000 Albuquerque, New Mexico students refused the PARCC Common Core tests. In response, Albuquerque Public Schools are publishing an Opt Out kit for parents in order to help opt out go smoother this year.

New Jersey Opt Out began in 2013, started by two sisters, Jean McTavish and Susan Schutt. Fifteen percent of all eleventh-graders in New Jersey refused the state PARCC exam this year. In Colorado’s Cheyenne Mountain High School, only 9% of the eleventh graders, 16% of the tenth graders and 30% of the ninth graders showed up to take the PARCC tests this spring. In Pennsylvania, elementary math state test refusals exceeded 4,000. In Washington State, 62,000 students opted out of the Common Core SBAC tests.

Monty Neil is the Executive Director of the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest). He saw testing resistance begin in the 1999-2000 school year, but during the last three years it has become “a real phenomenon”, he said. In January of 2013, the teachers of Seattle’s Garfield High announced their unanimous vote to not give the school’s Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) tests. One month later, the teachers of Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy in Chicago refused to give the state’s ISAT exam. When students began organizing testing walkouts in Portland Oregon’s Cleveland High School two months after that, Neil realized that “we were on the edge of a movement.”

Neil attributes the growth of opt out to “testing overkill and its high stakes.” He believes that parents see the new teacher evaluations as using their child’s test results to go after teachers whom they like. Parents see that “my kid is not happy”, and they question testing, Neil said. These concrete experiences are turning the tide.

And indeed that tide has turned. The latest Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll shows that the public rejects testing as the driver of policy and sanctions. Sixty-four percent of those polled said that there was far too much emphasis on testing in schools, and a majority does not want teachers evaluated by test scores. Seven out of ten said that Washington should not have a say in holding schools accountable or determining testing—a clear repudiation of the policies pushed by No Child Left Behind and accelerated by Race to the Top. On the issue of opt out, the public was about evenly split.

Meanwhile, Jeanette and parent activists are gearing up for another season of opt out. They are determined to grow the movement until high-stakes testing is stopped. And they continue to connect the dots, deepening their understanding of how testing threatens the local public schools that they love.

Opt out parents are now seeing beyond the stress of their children and becoming attuned to the connections between testing and charter schools, the Common Core, teacher evaluations based on test scores, school closings, and other politically popular policies designed to undermine public schooling. Opt out has become a movement of civil disobedience and of conscience. It will continue to grow and be the eventual undoing of corporate school reform.

And what might education look like if testing goes away? Jeanette Deutermann surveyed teachers to find out how instruction would change if they knew in the fall that nearly all of their students were opting out of spring testing. Their responses are well worth the read. You can find them here.

Thanks for reading. You can find a link to this report here, and a link to the entire newsletter here. Please share them on social media–educating the public is our shared responsibility.

Thanks for all you do,

Carol Burris

NPE Fund Executive Director


The superintendents of Florida have recently issued a press release stating that they have “lost confidence in the current accountability system for the students of Florida” and ask the commissioner to discard the results of last spring’s Common Core tests. Confidence in testing across the Sunshine State is failing.

Washington State

History teacher Jesse Hagopian talks here about how the Seattle teacher strike won important gains for students in the fight against testing.

New York

Civil rights group call an ad promoting charter schools “racist.” Bertha Lewis, president of The Black Institute, condemned the ad by Families for Excellent Schools. “They found a way to make money and profit off little black boys and girls,” Lewis said. “They act as if they are here to save us.”

You can read more about it here.


Meanwhile, Arizona further destroys its public school system by increasing funding to charters at the expense of public schools.

The story is here.


Billionaires plan to fund charter expansion in Los Angeles until half of all LA students are in charter schools. The pusher of the plan is Eli Broad.

You can read about it here.

NPE recently announced the location for our 3rd Annual National Conference, which will be in Raleigh, NC the weekend of April 16th – 17th. Mark your calendars now to hear keynote speaker Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II.

Rev. Barber is the current president of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, the National NAACP chair of the Legislative Political Action Committee, and the founder of Moral Mondays.

You can read more about Rev. Barber and #NPE16NC on our website.

The Network for Public Education is an advocacy group whose goal is to fight to protect, preserve, and strengthen our public school system, an essential institution in a democratic society.

Over the past two years, donations to The Network for Public Education helped us put on two National Conferences, and the first PUBLIC Education Nation. In the coming year, we will hold more events, and work on the issues that our members and donors care about the most!

To make a tax deductible donation, go to the NPE Fund website. We accept donations using PayPal, the most trusted site used to make on-line payments.