OLE’s Timeline of Early Education Work in New Mexico


++ OLÉ, still a new organization (founded in 2009), began looking at ways in which we could organize workers and parents

++ Then-governor Bill Richardson announces a proposal to cut 7,000 children from
childcare rolls and cut 10% from the reimbursement rate to centers.

++ Initial reaction from parents and center owners stopped this action but also energized
parents, owners, teachers and organizers to create a movement that will benefit
parents, teachers and center owners – and most importantly, make early childhood
education accessible to every child in New Mexico

++ EEU re-launched and began organizing center owners and teachers

++ OLÉ creates the Working Parents Association and begins organizing parents.

The Working Parents Association was started by New Mexican parents to build a united voice for working families who want to improve access to quality, affordable early childhood education.


++ A constitutional amendment is introduced in the Legislature in order to access the Land Grant Permanent Fund

++ 1.5% of the fund would create access for nearly every child in NM to have access to early childhood education

++ The measure is blocked in the Senate

++ OLÉ continues organizing parents and workers, begins exploring the idea of raising the minimum wage in Albuquerque

The Land Grant Permanent Fund is funded by subsidies from oil and gas drilling in New Mexico. The fund is holding strong at about $14 BILLION (and increasing) and funds education in New Mexico. The constitutional amendment would take 1.5% of the fund that will generate $150 million toward ECE! There are numerous studies that show this is the most financially sound solution toward funding ECE – and it doesn’t raise our taxes!


++ A constitutional amendment is introduced in the Legislature in order to access the Land Grant Permanent Fund (again)

++ The measure is blocked in the Senate (again)

++ OLÉ launches a campaign to raise the minimum wage to $8.50 in Albuquerque. The measure wins with 66% of the vote. Certain members of City Council talk about over- turning the bill, but in the end, the Wage Warriors win!

++ The raise also affects servers and bartenders

Minimum wage earners are mainly female adults between 18-45. Minimum wage earners are supporting their families and often work more than one job. The Working Parents Association is comprised of all types of parents who are workers, students, single parents, co-parents, grandparents, etc. Raising the minimum wage doesn’t eradicate poverty, nor does it ease the cost of early childhood education, but the election has forced our communities and policy makers to seriously examine income inequality and take action toward an economy that is sustainable for families!


++ A constitutional amendment is introduced in the Legislature in order to access the Land Grant Permanent Fund (again)

++ The measure is blocked in the Senate (again)

++ A minimum wage increase passes the House and Senate andis vetoed by Governor Susana Martinez

++ QELA is formed to represent ECE Center owners who are invested in increased accessibility for all New Mexican Children

++ New Mexico ranks 50th in child well-being. OLÉ members deliver a thank-you card from Mississippi to the members of the Legislative Finance Committee to shed light on NM’s dismal ranking.

The “Iron Triangle” shows the strength of our movement- parents, early educators and center owners working together to provide access to ECE for every child in NM so that parents know their children are in quality centers; raise the pay of early educators (who are mostly women) so that their income matches the work they do and their level of expertise; reimburse center owners at market rate so that our locally owned businesses are able to stay open and thrive!


++ A constitutional amendment is introduced in the Legislature in order to access the Land Grant Permanent Fund (again)

++ The measure is blocked in the Senate (again)

++ QELA organizer Joan Baker and Center owners testify at the Health and Human Services legislative committee. Legislators from both parties are concerned about CYFD policies and promise to investigate

++ OLÉ organizers begin working with parents who are given unfair contracts from CYFD. OLÉ members also meet with CYFD officials in order to shed light on the issues that families across New Mexico are facing.

++ OLÉ members join People for the Kids board as well as OLÉ board in order to ensure parent voices are always heard

++ Susana Martinez is re-elected governor, installs former Tourism Secretary Monique Jacobson as head of CYFD

QELA, EEU and WPA members began signing Unity Agreements in 2014, which ensures that the interests of all parties are being served. WPA members began talking to the media and CYFD has had no choice but to pay attention to the concerns that working families are facing. By strengthening our voices, the WPA has gained a tremendous amount of momentum, and parents are now a guiding force of the work of OLÉ.


++ Through the work of EEU, QELA and the WPA, two centers (and counting) have held union elections! This has huge implications for our movement!

++ A constitutional amendment is introduced in the Legislature in order to access the Land Grant Permanent Fund (again)

++ Other bills are introduced, including the Preschool Fair Share Fund and the Montessori Recognition Act. OLÉ, QELA and EEU members are pivotal in shaping this legislation!

++ Center owners, educators, parents and most importantly KIDS take over the Roundhouse for the 1,000 Kid March

++ Congressman Tom Udall and Congresswoman Michelle Lujan-Grisham speak out in support of funding ECE!

Parent leadership is the key to creating change for New Mexico’s families, as is working in partnership with center owners and early educators. We are a movement that cannot be stopped! Even as our kids transition to K-12 education, we know that there is a strong foundation that begins with ECE

Drivers License Day with OLÉ 2015

Drivers License Day with OLÉ 2015.


Many organizations rallied at the Railrunner Santa Fe Depot to take on the streets in order to march up to the Roundhouse.

After everyone reached the Capitol, there was another rally where people spoke and chanted messages in favor of driver licenses for undocumented immigrants.

OLÉ members took a banner up to the Governor’s office with tape covering their mouths. Some of the words written were: “Madre”. “Worker”, and “Voter.” Of course, the Governor wasn’t there to receive the banner, which displayed an insurance card where we wrote in “Susana Martinez” as the carrier of the insurance card, but we were able to leave it with the secretary for Governor Martinez to receive it later.

If you would like to see other photos of this event, click HERE.

If you like what you read and saw and would like to participate in an action similar to this, please click HERE to fill out a volunteer form, thank you.

Child Care Closures Plague New Mexico

Child Care Closures Plague New Mexico

State Policies Bad for Business of Educating New Mexico’s Young Kids

A statewide study¹ shows that New Mexico’s child development centers have continued to close at an alarming rate across the state. Over 173 centers have closed since 2010, when the state first cut eligibility for child care contracts and reimbursement rates for providers.

The study notes that CYFD’s reimbursement rates to providers, which fall well-below the market rate for child care, is one cause for the center closures that continue to plague the state.

“The Martinez Administration has a double-standard for how they pay state contractors: early-learning centers get paid at a loss, but every other kind of business makes a profit,” said Raquel Roybal, a PEOPLE for the Kids board member. “If you pave a road for the state, you make money, but if you educate a young child, under the Martinez Administration, you lose money.”

map of earlyed center closureYELLOW: Closures in 2011
GREEN: Closures in 2012
BLUE: Closures in 2013
RED: Closures in 2014

The study notes that only 69% of centers across the state accept CYFD contracts, down 14% since 2011. “CYFD’s reimbursement rates simply don’t cover the cost of the education we provide,” said Roxanne Rosa, Director of Our Montessori School in Albuquerque and also a board member of PEOPLE for the Kids, the coalition that released the study.

The study also notes that CYFD provides contracts to over 5,000 fewer children than it did in 2009, accounting for a significant loss in revenue that centers across the state used to rely on.

PEOPLE for the Kids is a coalition of parents, early educators, and early learning center owners and directors. Early Educators United, the OLÉ Working Parents Association, and the Quality Early Learning Association are its founding organizational members.

¹Center Closure Study 2014

CYFD Comic

After the OLÉ Working Parents Association and the preschool teachers and owners from Early Educators United and QELA joined forces to make a stink about CYFD, the Legislative Health and Human Services Committee invited us to come testify on August 5. Below is a comic illustrating what happened next.


If you like what you read, please share it with others so they may also enjoy it, thank you.


CYFD Commits Fraud!

CYFD Commits Fraud! 
CYFD commits Fraud flyer

CYFD refused to give Cynthia the study time that she needs to keep up with her schoolwork. Cynthia is working hard as a substitute teacher to provide for her family while she works toward her degree at CNM. CYFD regulations say that college students should have child care for the hours that they need to study, but CYFD tells Cynthia that she can’t have them. CYFD is violating its own regs, defrauding Cynthia of the child care hours she’s entitled to.

CYFD Commits Fraud! Help us stop them by donating HERE.

If you’d like to fill out a survey of questions that will help us start to find a solution for your child care contract, click HERE.


Youth Employment Summer Institute Application


YES! (Youth Employment Summer Institute) represents a collaboration with SouthWest Organizing Project, Organizers in the Land Enchantment (OLÉ), Native American Voters Alliance (NAVA), El Centro De Igualdad y Derechos, Partnership for Community Action, Generation Justice, and New Mexico Forum for Youth in Community. Youth who participate in the program will be work directly with one of these community organizations.

Youth will participate in a 12-week employment program that will develop their leadership skills, increase their skills for future employment and engage them in improving their community. YES! will provide employment opportunities that allow young people (between the ages of 14-24) to become engaged in community while also being challenged to think critically about the world around them. Through this program they will not only gain valuable job skills but will also develop meaningful relationships rooted in local community organizations that will provide them a home for continued community involvement.

Bosque Update on Meetings

Federico Garcia Lorca

To the rallying cry “Bosque que te quiero Bosque” (Bosque, I love you Bosque), over 400 people packed a public meeting sponsored by the City of Albuquerque in response to the Rio Grande Vision (RGV), a pet project of Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry. The wildly unpopular plan included plans for a boardwalk, restaurant and paved paths in the Bosque. While the RGV was scaled down to a ten foot-wide path (paved with crusher fine), the community opposed any kind of development within the levees. Working to protect the Bosque is the main focus of the River Writers, OLÉ’s conservation group.

The River Writers incorporate their own origin stories as a way of connecting with the Bosque and the Rio Grande. What started as a simple writing group launched the River Writers into taking immediate action to save the Bosque. At the meeting, held on September 4, 2013, three of the River Writers – Thane Padilla, Vickie Regina and Jeannette Smyth, stood together to demand that the facilitators give ample time to hear from the community. The facilitators, which included staff from both the City as well as design firm Dekker Perich Sabatini, intended to have participants write comments based on posters that showed concepts for the RGV. This tactic, perceived as a way to silence the opposition, was rejected by many in attendance. The River Writers and other allies demanded the opportunity to be heard. For three hours, community members from all walks of life made it abundantly clear that they do NOT want to see any type of development in the Bosque.

The next public meeting was slated to be held on September 18. The City canceled the meeting, but a coalition of community groups including OLÉ held the meeting despite the Mayor’s office’s efforts to silence community voices. With over 200 people in attendance, community members discussed not only their opposition to the Plan but also offered viable, proactive solutions including education and conservation efforts in the Bosque. The following day, OLÉ members delivered over 600 letters and petitions to the Mayor’s office opposing any kind of development in the Bosque.

While the work to save the Bosque from development continues, the River Writers are also focused on outreach to community members, particularly people of color and working class people, to join OLÉ’s conservation efforts.

For more information on joining the River Writers, email Andrea Serrano at aserrano@olenm.org

If you’d like to help and volunteer to continue the fight, click HERE.



After a Constitutional Amendment that would put $150 million into early education programs passed the New Mexico House this year, Senator John Arthur Smith dragged the bill into his committee and refused to give it a hearing. He killed it.

A study, which was released summer of 2013, showed that New Mexico has dropped to last place in the nation for child welfare, bumping Mississippi up to 49th.

That’s when members of our Working Parents Association decided it was time for someone to call out Senator Smith for abusing his power and driving New Mexico’s child welfare down to 50th in the nation.


Special Delivery: Stocking Full of Coal to Gov. Martinez


We delivered a stocking full of coal to the Governor today for being bad about taking the opportunity to expand Medicaid, which would help out about 154,000 New Mexicans!

stocking full of coal to Guv

Governor Susana Martinez has been bad this year… for not making a decision to expand Medicaid, which would help out 170,000 New Mexicans. Healthcare is very important to keep New Mexicans growing strong and successful. Let’s make sure the Governor makes the right decision in choosing to expand Medicaid.

Governor Susana's Stocking Full of Coal


Occupy NM did the liberty of creating a video of this event if you wish to view it, click HERE.