TENM 2021 Legislative Outcomes

New Mexico’s schools faced dire circumstances over the last year as decades of disproportionate disinvestment came to a head under the immense stress of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of our state’s elected officials stepped forward in support of the drastic changes needed to not only heal from the pandemic, but to address the constitutional right students have to a sufficient education. While we can celebrate achievements seen at the Roundhouse for the 2021 regular legislative session, we acknowledge our work remains far from over.

To watch our full panel discussion on the 2021 State of Education featuring Wilma Mankiller Award recipient and Yazzie/Martinez v. State of New Mexico plaintiff Wilhemina Yazzie, Senator Carrie Hamblen, House Education Committee Chair G. Andres Romero, Representative Derrick Lente, and Representative Javier Martínez visit our Facebook page.

factsheet titled Transform Education NM 2021 Legislative Summary. Body text: New Mexico’s 2021 legislative session saw some victories for public education and New Mexico’s youth, but our work remains far from over. Here’s a look at how critical education bills fared during the session and our path forward: HB 52 Bilingual Multicultural Advisory Council was signed into law by the Governor. This bill formalized the advisory council in statute. HM 18 Teacher Task Force Memorial passed the House of Representatives, calling for a coordinated solution to teacher shortages and training gaps. HM 26 Develop Education Plan for Yazzie Lawsuit passed the House of Representatives and documents the legislature’s intent for PED to create a comprehensive plan to meet the mandates of the Yazzie/Martinez ruling and resolve the lawsuit. Other important education victories include the adoption of a future ballot measure to access the Land Grant Permanent Fund, which would provide millions of dollars in funding for early childhood education and K-12 improvements, if approved by voters. Legislators passed anti-hair discrimination laws, protecting Black and Indigenous students as well as the Black Education Act, creating an advisory council and requiring racial sensitivity and anti-bias training. Additionally, the Office of the State Special Education Ombud was created to advocate for the rights of students with disabilities and assist students and parents in protecting students’ rights to special education services. Indigenous education initiatives proposed in the Tribal Remedy Framework bills received $15.7 million, far less than requested but sufficient for initiating a long-term shift toward self-determined, community-based education programs designed by Tribes themselves. Funding will go to Tribal Education Departments, Tribal Libraries, Native language programs and tribal broadband. Unfortunately, measures to advance student equity and agency were rejected this session, including: HB 219 Bilingual and Oral Language Development Framework made it to the Senate floor but was not brought up for a final vote. This bill would have created a working group to research and develop high-quality biliteracy and Indigenous oral language programs across the state.

backside of legislative summary factsheet. Body text: HB 131 Assistant Secretary of Hispanic Education also made it to the Senate floor but was not brought up for a final vote. This bill was intended to amend the 2010 Hispanic Education Act, providing broader Hispanic leadership for K-12 and higher education learning. SB 233 Student Bill of Rights of 2021 never moved beyond Senate Education Committee. The Student Bill of Rights of 2021 fought to establish the basis for a fair, safe, and engaging learning environment for all New Mexican students. Advocates and students plan to push for this measure in future sessions. SB 412 16 Vote NM received a Do Not Pass in Senate Judiciary Committee, though advocates’ enthusiasm continues for lowering the voting age to fairly represent those at the helm of our future: our youth. We are excited to continue fighting for youth agency and leadership, despite the disappointment of this loss. HB 287 Access to Culturally Appropriate Services was vetoed by Governor Lujan Grisham, despite already having funding committed to create a task force for asset mapping and gap analysis of state social service programs to better inform agencies. Though there is still much left to be done, we remain optimistic that transformation is on the horizon for every student in New Mexico. Thank you to all our supporters and coalition members for your incredible work and advocacy throughout the session on behalf of New Mexico’s students, teachers, and families.