August 18 First News: More Santa Fe Teachers Rated "Effective" Than State First Indicated (Listen)

Aug 18, 2014

As schools in the Santa Fe School District open for a new school year, we know that more of the District’s teachers were rated “effective” than the State’s evaluations originally indicated. New Mexico Education Secretary-Designate Hanna Skandera now says evaluations incorrectly rated Santa Fe teachers. The New Mexican reports that Skandera said Friday that initial ratings indicated fewer than 50 percent of Santa Fe teachers were "effective" were inaccurate because of bad data. Revised scores now show 67 percent of the teachers were rated effective or better. Rankings in several evaluation categories have gone up.

Community grops and business owners in Santa Fe say there is a growing movement to invest in the success of the city's students. The New Mexican reports that Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales plans to announce a new education initiative this week that will involve community partnerships. Organizers of the Santa Fe Interfaith Coalition for Education have already formed committees for legislative advocacy and volunteer recruitment. The group's goals include finding mentors and tutors for middle and high school students. Similar efforts are underway in other parts of the state. A coalition of Albuquerque leaders in education, politics and business started Mission: Graduate in 2012. The group's goals are to raise graduation rates and decrease truancy.

Traffic fatalities in New Mexico have increased about 20 percent this year. According to preliminary figures from the Department of Transportation, 204 people have died in traffic accidents from January through July. That's up from 170 fatalities during the first seven months of last year, but down from 224 in 2012. The department said law enforcement agencies have launched a Labor Day holiday weekend crackdown that will target drunken drivers. State, local and tribal police plan checkpoints and saturation patrols through September first. Of this year's traffic deaths, 86 were in accidents involving alcohol. That compares with 82 fatalities in alcohol-involved crashes during the first seven months of 2013, and 102 in 2012.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says discrimination against women is more subtle than when she began her legal career more than 50 years ago. Ginsburg made the remarks Friday at a kickoff event for a women's symposium at a downtown Santa Fe hotel. She told an audience of about 350 people that "rooting out unconscious bias is much harder" than simply changing laws that would prevent women from holding positions such as firefighter or police officer.

Police say a mother and her young son remain hospitalized a day after being mauled by two dogs in a Rio Rancho backyard. Rio Rancho police said Sunday that the 2-year-old boy remains in serious condition and his mother is listed as satisfactory. Both suffered substantial injuries. The woman's 8-year-old child received a minor wound. Police say the children were playing in the sprinklers Saturday afternoon when one of the dogs attacked the 2-year-old and then the second dog joined in. After shouting and other efforts to distract the animals failed, responding officers opened fire. They found the mother lying over the toddler in an attempt to shield him from the dogs. Police are not releasing the identities of the victims.

A new poll shows Governor Susana Martinez has a sizeable lead over Democrat Gary King in her re-election campaign. Results from an Albuquerque Journal poll released Sunday show that about 50 percent of voters surveyed say they plan to vote for the Republican governor. About 41 percent say they would vote for Attorney General King. Nine percent remain undecided. Overall, Martinez leads King in most regions of the state. Martinez also has backing from one in five Democrats polled and leads among independent voters. The nation's first female Hispanic governor, however, trails among Hispanic voters with 36 percent supporting her and 56 percent supporting King. Research & Polling Inc. conducted the poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Santa Fe Weather: Mostly sunny today with a 20-percent chance for showers and thunderstorms. Today’s high, 84. Tonight: Partly cloudy with an overnight low of 58 and a 20-percent chance for showers and thunderstorms. Tomorrow: Partly sunny with a 30-percent chance for showers and thunderstorms and the high, 79.