One-on-one with the new Public Education Department secretary

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, KOB 4 sat down with the new Public Education Department Secretary, Arsenio Romero, to check in on how he is doing in his new position, and what he has planned.

We started off the conversation with this last legislative session and the bills that address education in New Mexico. 

“The work we did with the basic foundational needs that we have, and making sure our kids are safe, our buildings are a good place to be, and making sure our students have necessities like breakfast and lunch. If you are a student in New Mexico, you are going to have free breakfast and lunch every day you come to school,” Romero said. 

Combine all that with the teacher raises we saw last year, Romero says we have our bases covered, but there is more work to be done. 

“When we look at other states that have made real progress, New Mexico is doing the same thing, and we are going to see the results not years from now, but really in months. Well maybe a couple of years from now where you are going to see amazing results in classrooms across New Mexico,” Romero said. 

One improvement you may already notice is graduation rates are up. But Romero says just getting children to graduation isn’t enough anymore. 

“We want to make sure they have an opportunity to have multiple credits to go into higher ed may be to have them graduate with a certificate from an industry to go straight into the workforce, and the third challenge is to have all of our students be able to speak more than one language, we have all the tools available to do that,” Romero said. 

With all these lofty goals I wanted to make sure he will see all of them through. We’ve had four education secretaries over the last four years, so we asked, does he plan on staying in this position for more than a year? 

“Absolutely, you are stuck with me for a while. We know this to be true, you need to have some stability and the people here at PED- need stability also our schools need stability, and of course, all our kids across New Mexico need stability,” Secretary Romero said.