Dr. Antonio Gonzales on New Mexico Public Education and finding answers in our communities

Evaluation Lab News

Posted: Mar 07, 2022 - 12:00am

Antonio Gonzales has worked in the Albuquerque Public School system for twenty years.  He has been a classroom teacher, an assistant principal, a principal, and for the last two years has served as the Associate Superintendent for APS. He strongly believes that public education is the gateway to a healthy democracy and that we are dependent on a good public education system to produce active citizens and our next generation of leaders.

In order to contextualize education policy for the MPP students, Dr. Gonzales presented on a case specific to New Mexico, the Yazzie/Martinez ruling.

Yazzie/Martinez was a lawsuit against the State of New Mexico that claimed that the state is not funding education appropriately or adequately. Both Yazzie and Martinez are New Mexico families that asserted that education is not being adequately funded for “at-risk students” throughout New Mexico. At-risk was defined as “socioeconomically disadvantaged, English language learners, Native American students, children with disabilities.” Dr. Gonzales described this ruling as a “call to action by the judicial branch to the legislative and executive branch,” because the law is already there but now it is a matter of making it come to life through policy and funding.

Quite a few things have been changed in response to this judgment, but it is still not sufficient and there is a lot more to be done that involves all levels of the New Mexico education system. Along with acknowledging some difficult things, we also need to plan. How do we take the assets from within our communities and provide enrichment and opportunities for our students? And, in a large school district, like APS, how can we best serve all the different communities in the district?

Dr. Gonzales believes the answers lie in our communities. We need to find a way to take the assets from within a community and infuse them into school curriculum and help our students see themselves as part of the answers to the problems that their communities face. Dr. Gonzales also notes that there needs to be greater investment in our teachers, they need more support and better wages to deliver quality work that will benefit all of their students.