Serious Concerns about Nickole Aguilar Garcia

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Lauren Coupland

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Jul 22, 2021, 12:53:21 PM7/22/21
to public....@laschools.net, Melanie Colgan, s.boe...@laschools.net, Christine Bernstien, Ellen Ben-Naim
President Colgan and members of the School Board, 

Appointing a school board member without a public election is a very serious job.  You have heard many opinions over the last week, as well as having the chance to question the candidates at the LWV forum.  Before the forum, I had concerns over the candidacy of Ms. Garcia, which only grew as I listened to her answers on topics such as her support of the teacher's union, her understanding and positions on public health with regards to covid-19, and her understanding and position on the teaching of historically accurate information about race, and racism.  

At the LWV Forum, there were several questions and answers that touched on issues of public health, schools, and covid-19.  In her answers, Ms. Garcia claimed that we are on the "backside" of the pandemic.  She also stated "I think the policies that need to be put in place need to be protected of everybody's rights, whether it's mask wearing or not, or vaccinations or not." When asked further about whether she would support following CDC & AAP recommendations about masks in schools, regardless of a state mandate, she said "But once the mask mandates are lifted, I would really prefer that we would not impose mask mandates beyond what is required for from our health experts."  Ms. Garcia advocates for the rights of parents to send unvaccinated, unmasked youth into the classroom with other students too young to be vaccinated.  This coupled with her facebook comments that have come out accusing Dr. Fauci of being involved in the creation of Covid-19, and calling public health policies "draconian" and the news "propaganda," makes her incredibly unfit for public service.  I would sincerely question the safety of Los Alamos students if she is appointed to the school board.  

At the LWV forum, the candidates were also asked - 
"Humanity's teachers across the nation are under fire for acknowledging the racism and oppression of minority groups involved in our country's founding. How would you support teacher autonomy, as critical race theory continues to be a hot button issue? And how would you support teachers work to provide students with accurate, truthful, complete information about their subjects?"
Ms. Garcia's answered "I feel like a really good teacher would present such a topic on a bipartisan perspective and not push an agenda political agenda."  This answer echoes the sentiments expressed by the very groups that humanities teachers are under fire from.  What agenda does she think is being pushed?  Why does she believe that acknowledging the racism in our country's history is a partisan issue?  Ms. Garcia states that teachers should teach about cultures and history "in a fair and balanced way as to not be projecting a particular agenda on our students so that our students can learn, learn fair, they can learn balance, and they can learn in an equal opportunity environment." When you have on one side, accurate history and issues taught in a historical contexts, and on the other a revisionist history stating that all issues of race were finished with the Civil Rights act, or painting the actions of colonizers against indigenous people as justified, giving each equal weight in the name of balance is a disservice.  

In her answers, Ms. Garcia also stated that Los Alamos students face learning loss due to Covid-19.  There has been no objective evidence that such a loss has occurred.  Teachers have expressed an objection to the characterization of learning loss, as they have worked harder than ever in the past year to educate the students of Los Alamos.  Ms. Garcia expressed a desire to work with the LAFSE.  However, her statements regarding the union in public and facebook comments over the past year show her true feelings towards the union, and towards educators.  On October 13th 2020, in an emailed public comment to the school board, she accused the union of "shady behavior" and stated that they were "A group that uses emotional manipulation tactics and fear mongering to loudly get what they want."  In a facebook comment around the same time frame, she referred to the former LAFSE president, who is now the President of the American Federation of Teachers New Mexico (AFT NM) as a "power hungry fear monger with no desire to ever go back." These are not the comments of someone who would be able to put in a good faith effort to work with the union. 

Her positions should give anyone pause.  Selecting Ms. Garcia for School Board is a tacit endorsement of these dangerous, unethical, and uniformed views.  Three out of four current School Board members, as well as the newly appointed School Board member are up for reelection in the fall.  I imagine that this election will be a referendum that will soundly reject these anti-science, anti-diversity, anti-teacher positions.  
Sincerely, 
Lauren Coupland
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