New Mexico’s state plan under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act was named as the best in the nation by independent education reviewers Tuesday, the state Public Education Department announced.
The state plan, among the first to be submitted by states to the U.S. Department of Education, outlines the PED’s stakeholder engagement along with a detailed plan for continuous improvement and ongoing stakeholder engagement in key issue areas.
It also details the state’s commitment to providing interventions for the lowest-performing schools (such as Principals Pursuing Excellence), as well as the ongoing implementation of college-ready standards and assessments and school grades that emphasize student growth, proficiency and graduation rates.
“We’re proud New Mexico is being recognized as a national leader through a plan that puts our students first. Traveling across the state, it’s clear so many New Mexicans are rejecting the status quo and providing their input into this plan every step of the way,” said Gov. Susana Martinez. “This independent review of our state plan is proof that when we work together, the sky is the limit for our kids and our state.”
The PED partnered with New Mexico’s leading public policy organization, New Mexico First, to develop the New Mexico Rising Tour, the largest listening tour in state history. The PED visited communities across the state to receive feedback on ESSA and made 50 changes to the state plan to reflect New Mexico voices.
“Today, New Mexico’s educators, parents, students and community leaders have so much to be proud of. Our plan for our students’ and state’s future has been recognized as being one of the strongest in the country,” said Acting Secretary of Education Christopher Ruszkowski. “We have incredible assets in this state, and we must come together and continue to do the work of improving outcomes for kids. Our students will be the ultimate beneficiaries if we deliver on what we’ve committed to in our plan.”
Bellwether Education Partners and the Collaborative for Student Success brought together a group of independent advocates, education experts and former state officials from across the ideological spectrum to review the first round of the 17 ESSA state plans submitted in April. The group’s goal was to serve as an external check on the federal peer review process and to look at whether states are going beyond compliance with the law to really set up a system that will accomplish their visions for K12 education. New Mexico had very high ratings in most categories, achieving the highest possible rating of 5 in five of the nine categories.
The reviewers specifically praised New Mexico for its strong rationale for goals, a clear accountability system and extensive stakeholder engagement.