Redesigning a public education system that works for students and teachers

Parents, families, and hundreds of educational and tribal leaders agree…

Supported by research and the volumes of evidence that led the court to its decision, 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. For more information to share with elected officials, peers, family, and friends, visit our resources page.

A Multicultural, Equitable Foundation

At the core of a sufficient and equitable education is multicultural and multilingual learning that responds to the cultures, language and heritages of our diverse student populations. The court found that the state is not meeting its own duties and responsibilities for a multicultural education established in the New Mexico Indian Education Act, Hispanic Education Act, and Bilingual Multicultural Education Act. Research shows a multicultural and multilingual education approach allows students to maintain their language and identity, improving learning and enabling students to do well in school.

  • Collaborate with New Mexico’s tribes and local communities: Ensure our families, tribal leaders, educators and local experts are at the forefront of shaping the education system.
  • Provide multicultural and multilingual learning at all levels: Make structural changes at the Public Education Department (PED) and enforce standards for culturally and linguistically relevant curriculum and instruction.
  • Develop multicultural systems capacity through higher education:Financially support higher education departments to train and develop Native American and bilingual educators, promote language preservation and strengthen multicultural curriculum development.
Instruction, Pre-K, and Social Service Programs

Research has shown that students do best when their health and nutritional needs are met, and they have the time and opportunities to learn. The court found New Mexico has successful programs that close the educational achievement gap – but the state fails to provide all students access to these programs.

  • Ensure all children have access to quality Pre-K: Universally offer Pre-K to 4-year old children and half-day options for 3-year old children, and ensure it is culturally and linguistically relevant.
  • Increase instruction & learning opportunities: Offer K-5 Plus, summer, after-school and literacy programs.  Our schools need smaller class sizes, appropriate curriculum, instructional materials and technology, and enrichment programs.
  • Provide comprehensive social services:Provide access to nurses, counselors and social workers in all schools, ensuring culturally and linguistically responsive services. Support the Community Schools model that actively engages parents and the larger community.

Teachers and other educators are at the heart of the education system. But according to the court’s ruling, New Mexico lacks enough teachers to meet student and classroom demands. Teachers are leaving the profession at alarming rates. And our most experienced educators are not teaching in low-income communities.

  • Raise teacher pay:To be competitive with surrounding states, teacher pay should be raised to $45,000/$55,000/$65,000 (tiers for starting salaries) and adjusted for inflation.
  • Provide more professional development:Teachers should be supported with more professional development days, at their full daily rate of pay. This must include building capacity for culturally-responsive, bilingual instruction and endorsements to Teach English as a Second Language (TESOL).
  • Build a pathway of new teachers:Tuition stipends and incentive programs can increase the amount of Native American, bilingual speakers, and early childhood educators.

The court was clear that a lack of funding is not an excuse for violating the constitutional rights of our students and ordered the state to increase funding for districts to provide a sufficient education.

  • Increase at-risk student funding: Increase the at-risk index in the school funding formula so at-risk students are funded at 25% above non-at-risk students and base eligibility on the income level used for Free & Reduced Lunch Programs
  • Restore baseline funding: Restore funding to at least 2008 levels (adjusted for inflation).
  • Increase funding for transportation, bilingual instruction and rural schools to ensure students have equitable opportunities in our geographically and linguistically diverse state.

The court found that New Mexico’s Public Education Department does not have effective accountability systems and audits to ensure students are receiving a sufficient and equitable education.  Action must be taken to guarantee greater oversight and accountability of the PED to do its job.

  • Strengthen monitoring of school funding: PED must work with districts to develop a monitoring and accountability system that ensures at-risk students receive programs and services.
  • Replace A to F school grading:The current system must be revamped to reflect the goals of our communities, and provide the support needed for our schools and teachers.
  • Ensure tribal consultation: PED must consult and collaborate with tribal governments to monitor and evaluate the education system, as part of the government to government relationship with tribes.