Earlier this month, two bills were proposed to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham; one of the bills is on universal education. This specific bill would declares that all pre-k facilities under Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) now would be moved under Public Education Department (PED) and become public education. This could have a fair impact on the Sandia community because the Working with Young Children program might be terminated.
The Working with Young Children class provides students with hands on experience working alongside children. Katie Maldonado, a Sandia alumni and a previous student of Working with Young children stated the impact this program had an impact on her career path; “I’m currently working with children now. I'm a supervisor at Sandia Learning center. The mini matadors helped me learn a lot and gave me a real work environment.” This class is not only a friendly and welcoming place, it also provides students with hands on experience. The program helps those who are looking into going to a career of teaching or early childhood education field get an inside on what their future might be like.
Now, students who were once part of the program, are enrolled in the program or simply know about its impact are taking a stance to prevent the termination of Working with Young Children. Donald Gurule who is on his first year of participating in the Working with Young Children program has started an online petition, and has attended the APS board meeting as a first step. Gurule has also contacted State Senators and the Governor and has been in contact with City Council.
The impact this universal education bill will have on our school is that many students are enrolled in this program, and some look at it as a possible career path. As of this year, the class has 160 sandia students and 27 mini matadors.. As for the impact on the community, many Sandia alumni bring their kids here and members of our surrounding neighborhood also bring their children here. With no program, parents will have to look for other alternative learning centers and Sandia students will have to look for another elective to choose. The program is a big contributor to our school and it helps our students build leadership skills; all that is left to hope for is for the bill to not pass.