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PED Secretary Talks Yazzie-Martinez Response, Chronic Absenteeism & School Counselors Assess the Student Experience

This week on New Mexico in Focus, we turn our attention to three education issues we’ve been following closely in recent weeks and months, beginning with the state’s response to the court ruling in the seminal Yazzie-Martinez case. Senior Producer Lou DiVizio speaks with Public Education Secretary Dr. Arsenio Romero about the state’s position on Attorney General Raúl Torrez’s desire to take over litigation in the case and what progress his department has made to create a more equitable learning environment for all students in our state.  

Chronic absenteeism has long been present in New Mexico’s rollcall of school problems. The rate ticked down in the most recently completed school year, but it’s more than doubled since 2019. KUNM’s Megan Kamerick hosts a special roundtable to talk about what the state is doing to get more students to show up to school and whether it’s effective.  

COVID, remote learning, returning to school and concerns about safety are all major challenges that have snowballed for students in recent years. Executive Producer Jeff Proctor speaks with two school counselors about the unique hurdles students are confronting and how they’ve impacted their mental health and coursework.  

Host: Lou DiVizio 


PED Cabinet Secretary on the State’s Response to Yazzie-Martinez Ruling 
Correspondent: Lou DiVizio 
Guest: Dr. Arsenio Romero, cabinet secretary, NM Public Education Department 

Addressing Chronic Absenteeism in NM Schools 
Correspondent: Megan Kamerick 
Guests: Leslie Kelly, behavioral health coordinator, NM Public Education Department 
Teri Wimborne, director of collective impact, United Way of Central New Mexico 
Estevan Gallegos, juvenile probation officer supervisor, CYFD 

School Counselors Assess the Student Experience in 2023 
Correspondent: Jeff Proctor 
Guests: Bryan Gabaldon, school counselor, Highland High School 
Devon Shelton, school counselor, Alameda Elementary School