Legislators, Focus On the 3 Rs: Respect, Recruit, Retain

It’s time for legislators to get back to the basics—the 3 Rs of 2022: Respect, Recruit, Retain.

Vacancies in New Mexico’s schools are at a historical high. Think about it: when it’s reported that there are 1,000 vacant licensed positions across the state, that translates to over 20,000 students without qualified teachers. This is an unparalleled staffing crisis.

ATF is calling on the NM State Legislature to save our schools by focusing on the 3 Rs: Respect, Recruitment, and Retention. This is the only way to do right by New Mexico’s kids.

 Respect: We often hear state leaders and the media referring to educators as “Superheroes.” Although we have demonstrated before and during the pandemic that we will serve our students regardless of what it takes, we are not superhumans who should be asked to shoulder the impossible. We demand to be treated with humanity and dignity, and we cannot tolerate more mandated trainings and responsibilities when our backs are already breaking under our normal responsibilities and the added burden created by the massive shortages. If New Mexico wants to recruit and retain quality educators, all successful paths forward must be built on a foundation of professional respect for those who serve our students every day.

 Recruit: Working in education should be an attractive career choice whether you are a new graduate or starting a second career. We can accomplish this with investment in scholarships, residency programs, and student loan forgiveness. We must expand our mentoring to support 2ndand 3rd year educators who are still learning their profession. Recruitment is tied to respect—when we are respected, more educators will join us.

 Retain: We all know someone who has retired early. We have all thought (or are thinking) about getting out as soon as we can. This does not need to be the case. We love our careers, and we love working with our students. We believe in this profession and in public education. Educators need a reason to stay and keep our public education system moving forward. One way to retain us—substantial raises for all educators this year, and for years to come.

The state of New Mexico has an unprecedented amount of money this year. The legislature must use these funds to make significant investments in our public schools. We are counting on legislators to fight for positive changes for all educators and students across the state of New Mexico.

Educators, join the fight for the 3 Rs! JOIN YOUR UNION TODAY!

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