This week, New Mexico in Focus turns its attention to three education issues it has 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.

NMiF airs on NMPBS 5.1 (KNME HD) Friday, Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 22 at 7 a.m., and streaming on the PBS video app.  

NMiF Segments  PED Cabinet Secretary on the State’s Response to Yazzie-Martinez Ruling 
Lou DiVizio 

Dr. Arsenio Romero, cabinet secretary, NM Public Education Department 

Addressing Chronic Absenteeism in NM Schools 
Megan Kamerick 

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 
Jeff Proctor 

Bryan Gabaldon, school counselor, Highland High School 
Devon Shelton, school counselor, Alameda Elementary School 

New Mexico in Focus is the New Mexico PBS prime-time news magazine show covering the events, issues, and people that are shaping life in New Mexico and the Southwest. NMiF takes a multi-layered look at social, political, economic health, education, and art issues, and explores them in-depth with a critical eye to give them context beyond the "news of the moment.

NMPBS Executive Producer, Public Affairs, is Jeff Proctor. New Mexico in Focus Senior Producer for Public Affairs is Lou DiVizio. “Our Land” Senior Producer is Laura Paskus. The producer of New Mexico in Focus is Antonio Sanchez and Co-producer is Kathy Wimmer.

Funding for New Mexico in Focus is provided by the McCune Charitable Foundation and Viewers Like You.

Funding for the Your New Mexico Government Project comes from the Thornburg Foundation and New Mexico Local News Fund.

Funding for Our Land: New Mexico’s Environmental Past, Present & Future, is provided in part by the Neeper Natural History Programming Fund for KNME-TV.