Albuquerque, NM – During the 2016 Legislative Session, important education reform legislation would pass the House and then routinely die in the Senate Education Committee, led by Democrat Chair and Vice Chair John Sapien and William Soules.
During their last campaigns, Senator Sapien received $5,000 from the New Mexico branch of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and Senator Soules received $3,500 from the AFT and another $1,500 from the New Mexico branch of the National Education Association, both of which are teachers unions heavily invested in maintaining the status quo and blocking education reform bills.
“The quality of New Mexico’s education system continues to lag far behind the rest of the nation, and House Republicans passed a number of bills this year that would have helped our students become competitive,” said Republican Party of New Mexico Spokesman Tucker Keene. “But Sapien and Soules cynically sided with the teachers unions funding their campaigns, and every single bill died in their Senate Education Committee. Our senators should be fighting for our children and their future, not for the special interests and the status quo off which they profit.”
Among the bills killed by Sapien and Soules were House Bill 67 and House Bill 145. HB 67 would have ended social promotion of third graders and ensured that students can read at grade level before advancing to the fourth grade, and HB 145 would have addressed the shortage of qualified teachers in New Mexico by creating an adjunct teacher program through which dedicated professionals could invest in New Mexico’s students and serve as teachers. Both easily passed the House before Sapien and Soules blocked the bills in committee.
“New Mexico students deserve better than the system that’s been failing them for years, and New Mexico parents deserve senators who are invested in passing legislation that helps their children succeed,” said Keene. “When Senators Sapien and Soules side with the interests of their donors over the education of their constituents, it’s time for new representation in the Senate.”