Skandera Sharply Questioned As Confirmation Hearing Drags On

The confirmation hearing for secretary-designate of education Hanna Skandera entered its third day this weekend. The governor’s pick for the state’s top education job faced tough questions from lawmakers. Members of the Senate Rules Committee focused on allegations that Skandera has connections to private companies and political operatives.

Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino, a Democrat from Albuquerque, charged that Skandera violated state law when she overturned Public Education Commission decisions on virtual charter schools. “On two occasions now,” he said, “you’ve overruled a PEC decision to deny a charter to an online entity that was clearly, going to contract with for-profit out-of-state corporations to manage the charter school.”

When Senator Clemente Sanchez, also a Democrat, asked for Skandera’s plans to improve New Mexico’s schools, she stressed the importance of a focus on early reading, and defended the A through F school grading system, saying “what gets measured gets done.”

Skandera remained calm and collected throughout the questioning, frequently responding that her decisions were made “within the confines of the law.”

With just six days left in the legislative session, the committee now must decide whether to send her nomination to the full Senate for a vote.