Albuquerque Public Schools District 6

Celia Cortez, APS Write in Candidate District 6

1) Should there be a mask requirement for children going back to schools in the fall?

Children should not be required to wear masks to school. There is sufficient medical evidence to demonstrate that masking healthy individuals, especially children, can have more risk than benefit. Each parent/child (including APS staff) should look at their individual situation and risk and take appropriate action to protect themselves.

Masks are considered a medical device, therefore they should be prescribed by a medical doctor. In work settings masks are regulated by OSHA requiring fitting and testing, which is not available for the masses.


2) Do you believe that the State and your district returned students to their classrooms: Too Early, At the right time, or Not quickly enough? (pick one).

Not quickly enough.

I do understand the teachers concerns for returning to school, however I also understand the parents need for school to reopen. Initially, I backed the districts decision but by late spring of 2020, there was sufficient data, nationally and internationally, to support returning to the classroom. This is important not only from an educational point, but critical for the many children who rely on the schools for meals, socialization and possibly identifying abuse.


3) Districts are one potential charter school authorizer in the State of New Mexico. Could you offer a brief sentence or two regarding your feelings on charter schools and your support/opposition in your district?

I support all forms of competition, especially in education. If a child’s needs are not being met in a classroom setting, parent should be able to find the best learning opportunity for their child. I do however believe that public education should be supported and helped to be competitive so all children will have an education that prepares them for career or college.


4) What kind of accountability tools do you believe should be implemented at the district level to improve student outcomes? How would you work within your school board to improve student outcomes?   

The board needs to refocus on APS’s mission – preparing the children for college or career. If a child can’t read or do math at an appropriate level, measures need to be taken to meet the mission.

For students a simple A-D grading system helps parents understand where their children are succeeding and needing help. Generally speaking, this grading system is to help the children, not to evaluate a teacher. I do not favor “social promotion” in most situations.


5) Are you in favor of splitting APS into smaller districts in order to encourage more local participation?

I would encourage local participation first and foremost. With a larger district, there can be advantages of cost savings and economies of scale, however if these advantages are not actually in place splitting the district should be visited. Public input should be considered with the cost implications made available.


6) If it does not already do so, would you support creating an online transparency portal to include annual budget information, employee salaries, administrator contracts, and other public records? 

I believe in transparency for all public services. Some of this information is currently available on the APS website, however it is difficult to find. Given the services are paid for with tax payer dollars, this information should be easy to access/find.


7) In your view, is Critical Race Theory, particularly the oppressor/oppressed dynamics it teaches, appropriate for middle and high school classrooms? 

In my view and the view of many educators, the teaching of Critical Race Theory is not appropriate for middle or high school studies (much less elementary). Too many students are not at their appropriate reading or math levels, which should be the focus of education.

Proponents of CRT feel that it is simply the teaching of history. I am in favor of teaching world history, the good and bad for all races and countries at age appropriate times.

Many of the books listed on the suggested reading list for CRT fail to provide a full picture of history. Suggestions on reading Malcolm X are always included, however I have never seen important figures like Thomas Sowell, Booker T Washington among many other important historical figures listed. Students should not be led to a conclusion.