Posted: January 21, 2014

Manzano Students Organize Town Hall with State Legislator

The high school students invited state Sen. Tim Keller and other community leaders to talk about concerns, frustrations and solutions to current education issues.

Students at Manzano High invited Sen. Tim Keller, D-Albuquerque, and other local community leaders to a town hall meeting to talk about public education concerns, frustrations and solutions. APS Board of Education members Dr. David Peercy and Dr. Analee Maestas also attended last week's event.

The town hall was the idea of student Roxanne Brito. "I saw all those teachers at the (teacher town hall) meeting so frustrated with the new graduation requirements and the new evaluation system. I decided it was time to give back some of the support they had given me."

Brito said that this experience has really opened her eyes to the power of her voice, and she and other students from around the district plan to continue this campaign, including writing letters to other legislators and the governor.

"I was very proud of our students and teachers today," said Manzano Principal Therese Carroll. "Roxanne organized the whole event almost exclusively on her own. Once she and Sen. Keller made a few introductory remarks, our students asked some thought-provoking questions about the standardized tests they're required to take and the new teacher evaluation system. Our teachers exhibited strong instruction today as evidenced by the articulate questions and comments made by their students. I'm very proud of all of them."

The town hall forum lasted about an hour and a half and welcomed comments from not only students, but also teachers and parents. Students posed questions to Sen. Keller ranging from testing requirements, teacher evaluations, graduation requirements, and current concerns about the public education climate.

Sen. Keller encouraged students to continue to become more involved with the legislative process, including hosting more events, writing legislators, and staying updated with the 2014 Legislature in Santa Fe. He offered to come back to Manzano, after the session concludes and brief the students on how he addressed their concerns while in session.

Senator Keller talks to kids

Senator Keller hosts town hall

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