Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Changing Course.

Byline: Juliet V. Casey Journal Staff Writer

Outcome of board elections could have a major impact on how APS educates children

"We want a system in which every student can learn and be taught."

Terri Cole, business leader

"If you want the baby to grow, you can't just measure it, you have to feed it."

Ellen Bernstein, teachers' union head

"It's not going to happen if it doesn't happen this year in some dimension."

APS Superintendent Brad Allison

From business board rooms to teachers' lounges to the head office of Albuquerque's school district, people are talking about fixing education.

The topic is high on the agenda of the nation's new president and is a focus of the New Mexico Legislature.

In such an atmosphere, Albuquerque Public Schools will, on Feb. 6, hold what many say will be its most important election in years.

Four of seven board seats are up for grabs, and two longtime incumbents Aggie Lopez from District 3 and Bill Rothanbargar from District 5 are stepping down.

"This election is being held in the context of changing the system," Superintendent Brad Allison said in a recent interview. "There's an urgency to improve public education."

Allison stunned some observers last week by taking the unusual step of speaking out about the election.

He warned voters to avoid candidates who are current or former APS employees because "they want to reward their friends and punish their enemies through the hand of the superintendent."

Allison, who said he has never before plunged into a school board election, called it "a kamikaze attempt to really change the system. …

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