Santa Fe – House Republican Leader Jim Townsend (Artesia) today rolled out Republican backed transformative education policies designed to reverse historical deficiencies in New Mexico educational policy and funding. HJR 11, the Expanding Options for Educational Choice constitutional amendment, will empower students and families to have more options in educational choice. A second measure that will be filed today, is a House Bill that will allow voters to decide on breaking apart the state’s Public Education Department (PED) and create an elected Board of Education that would empower local control versus Santa Fe centered education policies. Additionally, Leader Townsend will file a House Memorial to direct the Legislative Education Study Committee to create a taskforce that would report back to the Legislature on potential rule changes necessary to enhance local school board control. 

“There is no baseline, positive nor negative, for what is going on in our schools and we are ultimately failing the next generation,” said House Republican Leader Jim Townsend (Artesia). “Decades of status quo educational policies have created an environment in which many New Mexicans are fearful of the future for our students post-graduation."

"This Governor simply cannot keep telling New Mexicans that throwing money at the problem is the solution- the Yazzie decision clearly revealed that our state has failed historically, and presently, in supporting at-risk students and families, and that the Public Education bureaucracy in Santa Fe cripples local school boards from being effective in building strategies tailored to their community’s needs.”

House Republican lawmakers contend that HJR 11, the Expanding Options for Educational Choice constitutional amendment, will align New Mexico with a national movement to empower working-families to make effective and critical learning decisions that align their students for success. This transformative funding model would create a student-centered finance formula in which New Mexico’s taxpayer dollars are spent effectively and prudently, especially targeted to support at-risk working-families.

Republican Leader Townsend continued, “Providing options for educational choice should be a priority for every New Mexican. At the beginning of COVID, many families sought opportunities to choose better options for their students and unfortunately only certain families had the means to do so- some of those families are legislators in this body. Our aim is to empower every family in New Mexico to have the ability to make important education decisions without feeling like the bureaucracy is limiting their student’s potential with poor policies and out-of-touch decision making.”

Breaking apart the Public Education Department would remove the hyper-politicization of the PED cabinet position and create an elected Board of Education that would better represent the needs of the varied communities across our state. Governor Susana Martinez had a PED cabinet secretary who was never confirmed by the Democrat-controlled Senate, and Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham is currently on her third appointee to the position. The bureaucracy and partisan nature of the department and constant turnover of cabinet appointments have caused a chokehold in developing policies that transform education in New Mexico, which has consistently remained poorly ranked both regionally and in the nation. 

Townsend continued, “The bureaucracy of PED is an open secret. It is getting harder and harder to remember a time in which our education system was working, there are glimmers but those efforts are spurred on at the local level and often derailed by Santa Fe. By creating an elected Board of Education we can ensure that New Mexicans voices are not lost in the process of decision making. Empowering our communities to make appropriate decisions helps our students succeed across the state, instead of allowing the Santa Fe bureaucracy to create blanket policies that, for example, work in Albuquerque but fail to address the needs of our pueblo communities.”

All three transformational education measures are or will be co-sponsored by Republican Representatives once filed. More information can be found on Leader Townsend’s legislative page at The PED breakup bill and memorial to create a taskforce to study enhanced local control are both attached to this release. 

Content on the Beat

WARNING: All articles and photos with a byline or photo credit are copyrighted to the author or photographer. You may not use any information found within the articles without asking permission AND giving attribution to the source. Photos can be requested and may incur a nominal fee for use personally or commercially.

Disclaimer: If you find errors in articles not written by the Beat team but sent to us from other content providers, please contact the writer, not the Beat. For example, obituaries are always provided by the funeral home or a family member. We can fix errors, but please give details on where the error is so we can find it. News releases from government and non-profit entities are posted generally without change, except for legal notices, which incur a small charge.

NOTE: If an article does not have a byline, it was written by someone not affiliated with the Beat and then sent to the Beat for posting.

Images: We have received complaints about large images blocking parts of other articles. If you encounter this problem, click on the title of the article you want to read and it will take you to that article's page, which shows only that article without any intruders. 

New Columnists: The Beat continues to bring you new columnists. And check out the old faithfuls who continue to provide content.

Newsletter: If you opt in to the Join GCB Three Times Weekly Updates option above this to the right, you will be subscribed to email notifications with links to recently posted articles.

Submitting to the Beat

Those new to providing news releases to the Beat are asked to please check out submission guidelines at They are for your information to make life easier on the readers, as well as for the editor.

Advertising: Don't forget to tell advertisers that you saw their ads on the Beat.

Classifieds: We have changed Classifieds to a cheaper and shorter option. Check periodically to see if any new ones have popped up. The former software failed us, so it's just a category now, with prices posted. Send your information to and we will post it as soon as we can. Instructions and prices are on the page.

Editor's Notes

It has come to this editor's attention that people are sending information to the Grant County Beat Facebook page. Please be aware that the editor does not regularly monitor the page. If you have items you want to send to the editor, please send them to Thanks!

Here for YOU: Consider the Beat your DAILY newspaper for up-to-date information about Grant County. It's at your fingertips! One Click to Local News. Thanks for your support for and your readership of Grant County's online news source—

Feel free to notify if you notice any technical problems on the site. Your convenience is my desire for the Beat.  The Beat totally appreciates its readers and subscribers!  

Compliance: Because you are an esteemed member of The Grant County Beat readership, be assured that we at the Beat continue to do everything we can to be in full compliance with GDPR and pertinent US law, so that the information you have chosen to give to us cannot be compromised.