Governor Fires Secretary of Education Karen Trujillo | The Line


>>IN A 6:00 NEWS RELEASE LAST
MONDAY EVENING THE GOVERNOR ANNOUNCED SHE FIRED HER
EDUCATION SECRETARY AFTER SIX MONTHS ON THE JOB, WITH NOT
EVEN A FULL SEMESTER OF SCHOOL BEHIND HER. NEW MEXICO FACES CHALLENGES
WITH ITS PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM IN GENERAL BUT, ALSO
SPECIFICALLY WHEN IT COMES TO UNDERSERVED YOUTH LIKE NATIVE,
AT RISK, BILINGUAL, BIG GROUP THERE. THE BIG QUESTION IS WHY? HERE TO POSE POSSIBLE ANSWERS
ARE LINE OPINION PANELISTS. FORMER STATE SENATOR, DIANE
SNYDER, OUR FREQUENT GUEST AT THIS TABLE. WE ALSO WELCOME BACK ED PEREA
WHO IS A LAWYER AND PUBLIC SAFETY EXPERT. HERE FOR HIS SECOND RUN AT THE
TABLE IS DAVE MULRYAN, FOUNDER OF EVERYBODY VOTES. IT IS GREAT TO HAVE FORMER LT. GOVERNOR DIANE DENISH BACK FOR
SURE. WELCOME TO ALL OF YOU.>>DIANE, KAREN HAS BEEN FAR
MORE VOCAL ABOUT HER DISMISSAL THAN THE GOVERNOR AND HER
PEOPLE HAVE BEEN. I HAVE A COUPLE QUESTIONS
ABOUT LEADERSHIP AND SOME OTHER THINGS I WANT TO PARSE
OUT HERE. BUT, DOES MS. TRUJILLO HAVE A
POINT WHEN SHE SAID, THIS WAS FIRST I HAD HEARD THAT THERE
WERE ISSUES HERE. SHE SEEMS KIND OF TAKEN BY
SURPRISE IN THIS SITUATION. THAT CAN HAPPEN SOMETIMES,
WHERE HIGH LEVEL FIRING IS NOT NECESSARILY HANDLED AS IF IT
IS A LOW LEVEL FIRING. IT IS A DIFFICULT THINKING TO
DO.>>IT’S NOT LIKE THEY GAVE
PERFORMANCE REVIEWS AND IMPROVEMENT SHEETS, BUT,
GOVERNOR’S OFFICE SAID, COMMUNICATION AND LEADERSHIP. SO, THOSE TWO WORDS CAN MEAN A
WHOLE LOT OR MEAN NOTHING. NONE OF US DISAGREE THAT THE
GOVERNOR HAS — YOU SERVE AT PLEASURE OF THE GOVERNOR AND
SHE HAS THE RIGHT TO HAVE WHO SHE WANTS, BUT I THINK IN THIS
CASE, WE, AS THE PUBLIC, AND THE LEGISLATURE PARTICULARLY,
BECAUSE I TALKED TO SEVERAL OVER THE LAST COUPLE DAYS, WE
WERE SO ENAMORED WITH HER CREDENTIALS AND THIS TEAM, WE
BELIEVED IN IT AND I HEARD THIS FROM MANY REPUBLICAN
COLLEAGUES AND MYSELF, I LOOKED AND I WENT, I THINK BY
GOLLY WE HAVE HIT THE RIGHT MIX HERE, WE ARE GOING TO GET
SOMETHING DONE. AND, SO, SUDDENLY IT IS LIKE,
OH, WE BELIEVED IN SOMETHING AND NOW IT IS GOING AWAY, WHAT
HAPPENS NOW. AND THE LEGISLATORS PUT IN ALL
THAT MONEY. THE QUESTION IS, DOES THE
GOVERNOR OWE US, AS THE PUBLIC AN EXPLANATION? MAYBE NOT THE PUBLIC BUT I
THINK IF I WERE STILL SITTING IN THE SENATE AS A LEGISLATOR,
I WOULD WANT A LITTLE MORE INFORMATION THAN COMMUNICATION
AND LEADERSHIP.>>THAT IS A GOOD POINT. I CAN AGREE WITH THAT.>>DAVID, I READ PARTLY FROM
THE GOVERNOR’S QUOTE HERE. TWO WORDS JUMPED OUT. IT IS ABSOLUTELY IMPERATIVE WE
GENUINELY TRANSPORT EDUCATION IN THE STATE. WE ALL GET THAT. THIS IS THE SENTENCE. WE MUST IDENTIFY A VIBRANT AND
AMBITIOUS NEW LEADER FOR THE PUBLIC EDUCATION DEPARTMENT AS
QUICKLY AS WE POSSIBLY CAN. VIBRANT AND AMBITIOUS. TWO INTERESTING CHOICES OF
WORDS THERE. I GET A FEELING THIS IS ABOUT
STYLE POINTS AS MUCH AS ANYTHING ELSE. SHE BEING THE GOVERNOR. SHE
WANTED SOMEONE WHO COULD REALLY BE A CHEERLEADER AND
RALLY A LOT OF PEOPLE. I AM NOT SURE IF SHE WAS
FEELING SHE WAS GETTING THAT.>>ONE OF THE THINGS IS WE
ELECTED THE GOVERNOR, SHE WON BY A SIGNIFICANT MARGIN AND
SHE HAS TAKEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO SAY, SHE SAID IN SIGNAL, I
AM GOING TO BE AN ACTIVIST GOVERNOR. SHE IS SENDING A SIGNAL TO US
AS PUBLIC AND PEOPLE WHO VOTED FORWARD HER, SENDING THE
SIGNAL TO THE OTHER CABINET SECRETARIES, IF YOU’RE NOT
MEETING STANDARDS THAT I HAVE AND THAT SHE PROBABLY MADE
CLEAR TO THE PEOPLE THAT STAFF THESE CABINET DEPARTMENTS OR
THE SECRETARY, WE DON’T KNOW THAT, I AM GUESSING, BUT I AM
GOING TO GIVE THE GOVERNOR THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT. WE SHOW UP IN THE BOTTOM THREE
OF EDUCATION EVERY SINGLE TIME, WE CAN’T BE THE 51ST
BECAUSE THERE IS NO FARTHER TO GO DOWN. I THINK THE MEDIA AND MAYBE
SWIFT ACTION IS ACTUALLY CALLED FOR. YOU KNOW, IF SHE LOOKED AT
THAT DEPARTMENT AND SHE WASN’T GETTING COMMUNICATION. SHE DIDN’T FEEL SHE WAS
GETTING WHAT SHE WAS ASKING FOR. THERE WAS NOTHING IN THE PRESS
SAYING THIS IS A BOLD NEW VISION WE ARE HAVING FOR NEW
MEXICO PUBLIC EDUCATION. MAYBE THE CUT WAS THE RIGHT
WAY TO GO BECAUSE THESE THINGS DON’T TEND TO GET BETTER. I AM IN FAVOR OF QUICK ACTION,
WE HAVE GOT TO HAVE GOOD PUBLIC SCHOOLS. IT IS A FOUNDATION OF A
DEMOCRACY, FOUNDATION OF THE ECONOMY, AND I THINK WHATEVER
IT TAKES IS ABSOLUTELY APPROPRIATE.>>ALL AT THIS TABLE WE HAVE
BEEN IN A POSITION TO LET SOMEONE GO AT SOME TIME OR
ANOTHER. IT IS A DIFFICULT THING TO DO,
A HARD THING TO DO, AND I THINK, DAVE IS ON TO SOMETHING
IN A SENSE. SOMETIMES YOU KNOW IN YOUR GUT
IT IS NOT GOING TO WORK WHEN YOU’RE THE BOSS. YOU JUST KNOW THAT PERSON, YOU
MADE A BAD HIRE, YOU GOT TO BITE THE BULLET AND LET THIS
PERSON GO. WAS THAT YOUR SENSE OF THIS AS
WELL. THE GOVERNOR SHE DIDN’T QUITE
ARTICULATE IT BUT SOMETIMES YOU JUST KNOW. YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? IT IS HARD TO SAY OUT LOUD BUT
YOU GET IT.>>THERE ARE TWO SIDES TO THIS
ISSUE, MULTIPLE SIDES TO LOOK AT THIS ISSUE, ONE OF THEM IS
FROM A LEADERSHIP STANDPOINT AS THE GOVERNOR. IF YOU MAKE A DECISION IF
SOMETHING DOESN’T FEEL RIGHT, AND THIS IS SUCH A HUGE ISSUE
FOR NEW MEXICO, AND THERE IS QUITE A BIT AT STAKE, BETTER
TO DO IT SOONER THAN LATER AND KICK THAT CAN DOWN THE ROAD
AND MAYBE THINGS WILL CHANGE. GOVERNOR WAS ELECTED BY A WIDE
MARGIN AND EXPECTATIONS FOR HER ARE HIGH. THERE IS EXPECTATIONS ON THE
PART OF THE COMMUNITY AND EDUCATION COMMUNITY THAT
SOMETHING IS DONE WITH PUBLIC EDUCATION. WE HAVE THIS HUGE LAWSUIT,
MARTINEZ YAZZI. I SAT ON THE LATINO EDUCATION
TASK FORCE WHICH WAS SPEARHEADED BY MARTINEZ. SO WE TALK A LOT ABOUT THIS
ISSUE AND WE’RE EXCITED ABOUT THE NEW SECRETARY OF
EDUCATION. LAST TIME I WAS HERE A TIME
AGO ON IN FOCUS, WE ALL THOUGHT WE WERE MOVING IN THE
RIGHT DIRECTION, SPOKE TO TEACHERS AND IT WAS A AN
EXCITING TIME. NOW, WE HAVE TO TAKE A STEP
BACK AND LOOK FOR A NEW LEADER. THERE IS PROBABLY SOME TRUST
AND MENDING THAT HAS TO TAKE PLACE, NEW THINGS THAT HAVE
BEEN ADDED TO WHOEVER THE NEW LEADER OF EDUCATION IS. SO THERE ARE THINGS WE HAVE TO
WORK AND TRUST HAS TO BE REBUILT. THERE WAS SKEPTICISM, THE
PROCESS, NOW THAT THIS CHANGE WAS MADE, PEOPLE ARE GOING TO
WONDER WHAT IS GOING ON HERE.>>LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR,
SOMETIMES YOU GET A FEELING, YOU FIRE SOMEONE, SOMETIMES WE
CAN REALIZE WE FIRED TOO QUICKLY. THAT HAPPENS TOO. THAT HAPPENS TOO.>>I GOT TO WONDER, THOUGH, IF
THERE HAS GOT TO BE SOME IMPACT ON THE DEPARTMENT THIS
YEAR. WE HAVE THIS STEERING TEAM AND
A MORE THAN COMPETENT NO. 2 WHO COULD BE NO. 1 IN THIS
POSITION. BUT, IS THERE SOME DOWN SIDE
HERE IN YOUR VIEW AS YOU SEE A SCHOOL YEAR STARTING TO NOT
SOME HAVE SOMEONE AT THE HEAD OF PED OR DOES IT NOT MATTER
FOR THE SHORT TERM, TO GET THINGS GOING?>>I THINK THE COMMUNITY IS
WHAT MATTERS. HAVING STRONG LEADERSHIP IN
THE COMMUNITY AS SCHOOLS GET UNDERWAY. THEY NEED SOMEBODY AT THE
PUBLIC ED THAT IS GOING TO BE ABLE TO GUIDE THEM SHOULD THEY
NEED IT. SHOULD THEY NEED IT. LOCAL COMMUNITIES THERE IS SO
MUCH HAPPENING THERE, THEY ARE PROBABLY NOT EVEN PAYING TOO
MUCH ATTENTION. I WAS SURPRISED, AND AS WE
SAID, IT IS THE GOVERNOR’S PREROGATIVE. I WAS SURPRISED THAT THERE
WASN’T SOME ADVANCED NOTICE TO SOME OF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE
GOING TO BE THE MOST SURPRISED. MEANING, TEACHERS, SOME
LEGISLATORS, AND IT SOUNDS LIKE TO ME THE DEPARTMENT, THE
PEOPLE IN THE DEPARTMENT, WERE SHOCKED AS WELL. SO, THE GOVERNOR SAYS, THEY
HAD BEEN COMMUNICATING THE PROBLEMS. SOMETIMES YOU HEAR IT
DIFFERENTLY AND THE GOVERNOR HERSELF DID NOT COMMUNICATE
THE DIFFERENT DIRECTION MESSAGE AT THE END OF IT, SO,
SECRETARY TRUJILLO IS PROBABLY WONDERING, REALLY, TRYING TO
FIGURE IT OUT AND LIKE AN EXIT INTERVIEW, YOU KNOW, WHAT
REALLY DID GO WRONG HERE. AND I AM CONFIDENT SHE WILL
FIND GOOD EMPLOYMENT. I WILL SAY IN REFERENCE TO THE
LAWSUIT, AS WELL AS THE BIG NUMBER OF MONEY THAT CAME INTO
K3 PLUS, 122 MILLION, AND THEY WEREN’T ABLE TO ACTUALLY USE
ALL THAT MONEY, I THINK THIS IS PROBABLY A DIFFERENT
PHILOSOPHY ABOUT WE HAVE THE MONEY, AND THE CAPACITY IS
THERE. IT IS REALLY NOT YET AND THEY
TRY TO DO SOMETHING IN KIND OF A HURRY AND I THINK THAT WILL
HAPPEN WHEN SCHOOL DISTRICTS, BUT AT THE END OF THE YEAR
THEY WERE SAYING SIX MORE WEEKS, SAME TEACHERS, SAME
CLASSROOMS, SAME KIDS, AND TEACHERS SAID, I HAVE MADE
PLANS, WE ARE TIRED, WE ARE NOT GOING TO DO IT.>>DOES THAT FALL ON
MS. TRUJILLO THERE? THERE IS HINTING OUT THERE,
SHE DID NOT PUSH THAT END OF THE DEAL.>>BETTER BENCHMARKS BECAUSE I
KNOW THEY DID A COUPLE ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS IN
ALBUQUERQUE. IN APS. BUT IN THOSE RURAL AREAS WHERE
YOU DON’T HAVE A LOT OF TEACHER POOL TO CALL ON TO
COME IN AND ONE OF THE KEYS THAT I THINK IS THAT THE
STUDENT AND TEACHER, IT WILL BE THE TEACHER THAT THE
STUDENT WILL FOLLOW THEM. SO THAT IS EVEN MORE OF A
CHALLENGE TO GET THAT IN A RURAL AREA, SO, MAYBE WE
SHOULD HAVE SAID, OKAY THIS IS THE BENCHMARK FOR THIS SCHOOL
YEAR AND DO THIS, AND THEN BY THE NEXT YEAR. I UNDERSTAND WANTING TO GO IN
AND DO EVERYTHING AND CHANGE EVERYTHING AND MAKE IT BETTER
RIGHT NOW. BUT THE REALITY SOMETIMES GETS
IN THE WAY AND SO THE QUESTION IN MY MIND IS, DID SECRETARY
TRUJILLO UNDERSTAND, WAS SHE THINKING, BENCHMARKS, WE HAVE
GOT THIS MANY GOING IN, WE’LL BE ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH THIS IN
THE NEXT AND DIDN’T UNDERSTAND THAT THAT WAS NOT —
>>I DO THINK SHE PROBABLY DID UNDERSTAND. BUT WHETHER THE CAPACITY OF
THOSE TEACHERS TO DO THE WORK WAS THERE AND THE YAZZI
LAWSUIT NOW IS GOING TO BE TOPSY TURVY BECAUSE OF JUDGE
SINGLETON’S DEATH. SHE WAS THE JUDGE. SO, THERE IS GOING TO BE — IT
PROBABLY IS A GOOD TIME IF THERE WAS GOING TO BE A CHANGE
TO MAKE A CHANGE BECAUSE YOU KNOW YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE A
NEW JUDGE ON THE LAWSUIT, THEY ARE GOING TO LOOK AT IT AGAIN. THERE IS DIFFERENT THINGS
HAPPENING. I WILL SAY IT IS BOTH A
BLESSING AND A CURSE.>>IT CAN HAPPEN. WE HAVE A NATIONWIDE SEARCH
NOW TO FIND A NEW HEAD OF OUR EDUCATION DEPARTMENT BUT IT
CAN ALSO BE WHEN YOU SHOW A QUICK TRIGGER, THAT CAN ALSO
BE AN IMPEDENCE ON PEOPLE APPLYING FOR THE GIG. THERE IS CONSEQUENCE FOR
EVERYTHING. WE’RE OUT OF TIME. AFTER THE BREAK WE LOOK AT THE
RECORD OF SLAVERY HERE IN NEW MEXICO’S PAST.

1 thought on “Governor Fires Secretary of Education Karen Trujillo | The Line”

  1. I'd like to point out that NM does a terrible job in terms of child welfare. If children here don't feel safe or have food at home, of course they won't do well in school. Can we please have a conversation concerning this?

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