Posted at: 01/08/2014 7:42 AM
Updated at: 01/08/2014 1:41 PM
By: Nikki Ibarra, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Gov. Susana Martinez announced Wednesday she will focus on improving the economy and education in the upcoming legislative session.
At the Economic Forum in Albuquerque, Gov. Martinez said she plans on making New Mexico competitive by putting the focus on children.
One initiative would be to hold back third graders who aren't reading at their grade level. Gov. Martinez said not doing so is a disservice to those students.
Another plan: Raise the starting salary for new teachers. Instead of $30,000 a year, she wants these teachers making $33,000.
"These are important concepts. Our kids should be ready by the third grade period, our teachers should be evaluated in part on how well their students are doing inside the classroom on a daily basis," Gov. Martinez said.
Despite the fact that more than half of the governor's proposed budget goes to education reform, officials for the Albuquerque Teachers Federation say they're not impressed with the plan.
Ellen Bernstein with ATF said she questions whether the proposals are really what New Mexico schools need.
"The governor's reforms are based on slogans and not things that are going to help the teachers and the kids every day in the schools," she said.
Bernstein says individual schools need be given control over their own initiatives, because they know what they need to do to make improvements.
The legislative session starts on Jan. 21.