Gov. Susana Martinez
- Governor Also Encourages Local Governments, Businesses to Provide Similar Accommodations
Albuquerque—Gov. Susana Martinez signed an executive order Wednesday directing state agencies to provide administrative leave for employees with school-aged children, so that they can regularly participate in parent-teacher conferences in the fall and spring of each school year.
The Governor also encouraged other public bodies not covered by her executive order (such as independent state agencies, local governments, and universities), as well as private sector employers, to make similar accommodations for their employees, if it’s not already being done.
“Parents are the best partners teachers can have,” Martinez said. “We want to help engage parents as much as possible, and parent-teacher conferences are a critical way in which parents can become informed and involved in their child’s education. Creating this leave option will help our state employees to be partners in education with teachers, and I encourage businesses and local governments to adopt similar practices.”
Executive Order 2014-007 allows state agency employees with school-aged children to take up to a total of eight hours of administrative leave to attend parent-teacher conferences (up to four hours for each of the fall and spring semesters, depending upon the number of children the parent has).
Guidelines for how this leave will be applied for and administered will be written by the State Personnel Office (SPO). With well over 200,000 New Mexico families providing a home to school-aged children, Governor Martinez also encouraged local governments, universities, other public bodies, and private businesses to adopt a similar approach to make it easier for parents to be involved in their child’s education.
“Through this executive order, Governor Martinez has taken another important step toward ensuring more New Mexico parents and guardians are able to take active roles in their child’s education,” said New Mexico International School Director Todd Knouse. “The Governor is leading by example through requiring agencies she oversees to allow and encourage more parental involvement in educating our children. If we want adults to be partners with their child’s school and to be involved in their child’s education, we have to provide for them the avenue to do so. Governor Martinez’s initiative does just that.”
Knouse and members of New Mexico International School’s School Advisory Committee joined Martinez for the announcement.
Studies have shown that when families and schools work together in promoting education, students are more likely to have improved social skills, earn better grades, enroll in higher-level classes, complete their coursework, and be more successful in the workforce upon graduation.
This executive order is the latest in a series of the Governor’s education initiatives designed to help parents become more involved in partnering with teachers to educate their children. Earlier this year the Governor announced funding to expand the use of online ‘parent portals’ that allow parents to monitor the assignments, behavior, and grades of their children on a regular basis. In addition, the Public Education Department regularly holds evening workshops entitled “Readers Raise the Roof,” that have already trained over 5,500 parents and guardians on how to teach their children to read at home. Other parental engagement efforts are identified within the executive order.
The state budget that Martinez recently signed into law includes the highest level of education spending in state history, with a focus on education reform initiatives designed to get dollars directly into classrooms. These initiatives are geared toward supporting teachers, helping struggling students, improving parental engagement, and lifting up low-performing schools.