The Platform for Transformation.
Now is the time for change.
Education in New Mexico is at a crucial tipping point. Now, in this moment, we have a heightened opportunity to fix what is broken. Decades of underfunding, coupled with longstanding systemic racism in our society and institutions, have left our education system with some of the worst educational inequities in the nation. Opportunity gaps have never been wider for far too many New Mexico students. Our families have a diversity of cultures, languages, and heritages, and yet these cultural assets are routinely ignored.
In a landmark court decision, Yazzie/Martinez v. State of New Mexico, a judge ruled in 2018 that New Mexico is violating the constitutional rights of students to a sufficient education. The court ordered the State to comprehensively overhaul the programs, services, funding and resources necessary for students to be college and career ready, and to address the deep educational inequities for Native American students, English language learners, students with disabilities and low-income students. Sweeping changes must be made to our public education system so that all of our students can learn and succeed.
The Transform Education NM Platform is a blueprint, the most direct path to leverage what we know works for New Mexico and fix our education system.
The Platform was developed by hundreds of students, parents, educators, and community and tribal leaders, and by the Yazzie plaintiffs, and it is based in the court’s findings and volumes of research and expert testimony.
The Transform Education NM coalition is advocating for the creation of a public education system that:
- Embraces, reflects, and incorporates the cultural and linguistic heritage of our diverse communities as a foundation for all learning
- Provides extended learning opportunities like summer school and more time in the classroom
- Values our teachers and educators and puts them in a position to succeed here in New Mexico
- Allows all children to access early learning and Pre-Kindergarten programs
- Offers services such as counseling and health clinics that promote learning
- Ensures our schools receive financial resources required to meet the needs of all children
These changes will realize New Mexico’s constitutional mandate for a sufficient public education system.
Our education system must be rebuilt on core values of honoring our students’ well-being and ending the decades of racism and discrimination that has failed them. The state must deeply engage students, families and tribal leaders to shape educational priorities.
And culturally and linguistically responsive curriculum and instructional materials, bilingual education and dual-language programs, and teacher preparation to create learning environments that embrace the cultures, languages, and heritages of our students. To develop and sustain this framework, higher education institutions, tribal education departments, and community programs must have adequate resources. The state must build this capacity to fully implement the Indian Education Act, Hispanic Education Act, and the Bilingual Multicultural Education Act. The state must also ensure meaningful consultation and collaboration with tribal governments, as part of the government to government relationship with tribes (See the final section of platform for details).
To fix the dire shortage of educators (including teachers, instructional support/ancillary providers and other staff), especially for indigenous teachers, bilingual education, special education, and early childhood education, pay must be competitive with surrounding states, and we must have pipeline programs and Grow-Your-Own programs to bring in educators who reflect the diversity of our students. All educators should receive appropriate pre-service training and professional development to provide an individualized and appropriate education for students with disabilities, be endorsed for bilingual instruction or to Teach English as a Second Language (TESOL) and to provide culturally and linguistically responsive instruction.
All students should have access to programs that successfully close opportunity gaps, including: universal pre-K that is culturally and linguistically responsive to provide full-day options for 4-year old children and half-day options for 3-year old children. Students with disabilities must be timely evaluated for and provided appropriate special education and ancillary services that meets individualized education programs in the least restrictive classroom settings. Every child should have access to a well-rounded curriculum that includes bilingual education, arts, music and physical activity. All schools should be able to offer summer school, extended learning time, literacy programs, smaller class sizes and instructional materials.
Students must have access to technology including the ability to access the internet from the home, after-school programs that offer education support and enrichment, libraries in the community, buses and transportation services so that students can attend summer school and after school programs. The state should expand college, career, civic and culture readiness programs, and career and technical education.
Resources that promote well-being, not punitive disciplinary practices. All schools should offer healthy meals, wellness centers, nurses, counselors and social workers so that students have access to resources to overcome economic barriers. The state should expand school-based health centers and Community Schools that actively engages parents and local community.