The American Federation of Teachers of New Mexico (AFT-NM) and the National Education Association of New Mexico (NEA-NM) have announced the ‘United Voices for our Students rally’ in Santa Fe on February 16th as part of a Moral Monday March.
Both organizations have expressed stern opposition to the new teacher evaluations and high stakes testing of students that feed into the evaluations. The AFT-NM and NEA-NM have both filed petitions and lawsuits against the reforms.
There is common ground with these two groups that anti-common core advocates have already embraced. The OPT-OUT movement which, opposes high stakes testing, is spreading across the U.S. at a very fast pace. Coalitions of parents, educators, teacher unions and medical professionals, regardless of political party, have joined the fight to eliminate the K-12 high stakes testing.
However, it is the Moral Monday banner this rally is flying under that could derail and muddy the issue in New Mexico.
Lady Liberty knows the Moral Monday circus better than most, and reported on the protests since its 2013 beginnings in North Carolina. There are countless stories on this blog regarding the protests, the arrests, the hijacking of the movement by Occupy and other political groups, and the various embarrassing props (including a giant inflatable pink uterus) used at the Moral Monday marches over the last twenty months.
Moral Monday became a hot mess of political activism run amok. Too many issues muddying the waters, too many players with their own agendas, very little impact and successes to show for it, including the 2014 failed reelection of Senator Kay Hagan.
Now, New Mexico is stirring the pot with its own Moral Monday. One week prior to the AFT-NM and NEA-NM announcement of their rally in Santa Fe, a Moral Monday New Mexico Facebook page popped up stating their own intentions regarding the Monday protests.
Here is the status update taken directly from their Facebook page; emphasis added (screen captured for future reference):
“Every Monday Starting Feb. 2, 2015 concerned New Mexicans will gather on the east side stairs of the legislative building in downtown Santa Fe. This will be a fun, family oriented event, that will also be educational and informative. As you well know, for the first time in 55 years, New Mexico has a Rebublican controlled house, and a Republican governor, a recipe for a scary 60 day legislative disaster. You, your family and your friends are invited! Join us! Stop anti-family, anti-worker, anti-environment legislation. See you at the round house!!”
Scary Republican’s, scary legislature, anti this, anti that, but please don’t offer up solutions for any of the problems that New Mexico faces. It has been a running joke in this state that we seem to rank at the bottom of anything positive in the US and the top 5 regarding negatives.
In short, I have to question why our largest educator related unions in New Mexico wish to embrace the Moral Monday concept. They risk losing messaging, credibility, and influence if history repeats its self. Will the February 16th March accomplish real change in education reform, or will the movement be hijacked by the fringes as it was in North Carolina?
The first protest is scheduled for Monday February 2nd. I will be updating every weekend on the protests.
A word of advice: Please leave the giant pink walking talking uterus at home. After all, according to the words of the organizers..
“This will be a fun, family oriented event.”
New Mexico really doesn’t need anymore bad press.