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New Mexico National Guard members teach in COVID-hit schools -Breaking


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – Michelle Lujan Grisham, Democratic candidate for Governor, greets diners at Cocina Azul, Albuquerque (New Mexico), U.S.A, November 6, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

By Andrew Hay

TAOS (NM) -National Guard soldiers in New Mexico started substitute teaching, and the governor stated that she would also do so in a bid for students to remain in school during a COVID-19 spike.

Public workers and parents are helping to fill teacher shortages in public schools throughout the nation. Michelle Lujan Grisham, New Mexico’s Democratic governor, went further in asking National Guard members to volunteer as substitutes.

Since winter break, over 60 New Mexico schools switched to online learning. A legislative report shows that online education has been disastrous for New Mexico students, who are already among the most under-educated states in America.

According to the state education division, 59 volunteers have been certified by Lujan Garciam after they were trained online and passed background checks.

Nora Sackett, spokeswoman for Lujan Garcia said that Lujan has already completed the process.

New Mexico Republicans called the move to teach an “opportunity stunt” by her and claimed that she permitted the teacher shortage.

Kim Skaggs, Executive Director of the state Republican Party stated in a statement that “this is an act desperation.”

According to New Mexico State University research, there were more than 1000 unfilled positions at New Mexico schools in October 2021. This is nearly twice the number of positions that existed a year ago.

Researchers found that the pandemic led to teacher resignations and worsened socioeconomic conditions for students from one of America’s poorest states.

Governor has asked for funds to increase wages by up to 7 percent in an effort stop the exodus of teachers.

The substitute teacher plan was supported by education unions. However, it has to be an immediate measure and not long-term.

Mary Parr Sanchez, President of the National Education Association New Mexico said that it was a great idea to attempt to solve a problem.

Texas neighbors provided parents to help keep classes running while teachers went home.

Marisela, who is one of the approximately half dozen parents volunteers at Austin Jewish Academy, said, “It’s unpredictable. We don’t know which day will have however many people out.”

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