SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico's top education official has been told to resign by a state senator who guides the confirmation process for political appointments.
Democratic state Sen. Linda Lopez of Albuquerque on Monday called on Public Education Secretary-Designate Christopher Ruszkowski to resign over his comments last month about Manifest Destiny and proposed state science standards that omitted references to global warming.
Native American tribal leaders say Ruszkowski offensively referred to Manifest Destiny - the 19th century U.S. doctrine of territorial expansion - as a core American value that drives the state's education agenda.
Public Education Department spokeswoman Lida Alikhani says that Ruszkowski has no intention of resigning. She said he has reached out to Native American tribal leaders across the state to express remorse for his poorly phrased historical reference.
In October, our New Mexico Mobile Newsroom reported Ruszkowski's plan to remove terms like "evolution" and "climate change" from state science standards.
In his October 3rd letter to New Mexico's acting secretary of education, Christopher Ruszkowski, Dr. Greg Ewing, superintendent of Las Cruces Public Schools stated that removal of those two terms "flies in the face of the evidence accepted by the majority of the science community."
Ruszkowski said despite the proposed changes, teachers will still control what's taught in their classroom.
"Our teachers were very concerned about these omissions," said Wendi Miller-Tomlinson, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning at LCPS. "If we're just giving students only part of what's out there, we're doing a huge disservice both into their knowledge base and also the skill of looking critically at controversial information."
After hundreds of educators and members of the science community protested the proposed changes later in October, Ruszkowski said they would not be implemented.