NM National Guard and state employees asked to substitute

January 20, 2022
NM National Guard and state employees asked to substitute

Our kids, our teachers and our parents deserve as much stability as we can provide during this time of uncertainty, and the state stands ready to help …

New Mexico Governor Lujan Grisham encouraging National Guard members and state workers to help substitute in schools and childcare centers.
  • On Wednesday, NM Gov. Grisham announced a new initiative for the state, called "Supporting Teachers and Families" (STAF).
  • As part of the initiative, the state sent a letter to the NM National Guard and state agencies asking for volunteers to provide aid by substituting in schools and childcare programs. The Public Education Dept. and Early Childhood and Care Dept. are helping to streamline the process, and volunteers are expected to begin helping as soon as next week.
  • This move is expected to partially alleviate the challenges that education and childcare programs have been facing due to a surge in COVID-19 cases: "Since winter break, around 60 school districts and charter schools have moved into remote learning. Since the beginning of the year, 75 child care centers have partially or completely closed due to staffing shortages."

Why It Matters: NM Parent Teacher Association Pres. MaryBeth Weeks said this initiative "will help to create a stable school environment, as well as help parents who are having to juggle childcare and jobs." Similar to NM, Oklahoma Gov. Stitt issued an executive order Tuesday allowing state employees to become substitute teachers – without losing benefits or pay. A national shortage of substitute teachers has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic; questions remain as to whether these moves from state governors will influence other states to act in helping to alleviate the shortages schools and childcare facilities currently face.

Governor Lujan Grisham announces "Supporting Teachers and Families" initiative (Office of the Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham)

New Mexico National Guard members, state employees asked to stand in at schools, child care centers (KOB4)

  • (NOTE ON ABOVE SOURCE: The photo shown is not of National Guard members in the classroom. KOB4 reports: "National Guard members will not be armed. Schools and child care centers will also decide whether or not they'll be in uniform.")

by Jenna Lee,