About 100 New Mexico National Guard troops are deployed to fill critical teacher shortages in public schools to avoid returning to remote learning. The move marks another entry in the National Guard’s portfolio of missions since the pandemic began.
The mission will not fall under Title 32 orders as most pandemic-related tasks have been categorized. Troops will instead fall under state active duty orders. This effectively makes troops state employees.
At least 60 of New Mexico’s 146 school districts have reverted to remote learning this month. Experts have warned that remote learning creates a mental health crisis among students and stifles learning, especially among kids from low-income families.
100 Guardsmen To Fill In As Teachers
Brig. Gen. Miguel Aguilar said in an interview that 44 Guardsmen have already deployed to classrooms, and plans call for that number to grow to roughly 100 total activations in the coming weeks.
“Everyone on this mission is a volunteer, and they can come off as they need,” Aguilar said. “If you are in a classroom and teaching, you should want to be there. We’re going to send folks that are able to do it and really want to do it.”
This move is New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s initiative to boost the state’s teaching force. Many teachers have fallen ill to the omicron variant.
“Our schools are a critical source of stability for our kids — we know they learn better in the classroom and thrive among their peers,” New Mexico Gov. Grisham said. “Our kids, our teachers, and our parents deserve as much stability as we can provide during this time of uncertainty.”
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