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Educators, advocates, and tribal leaders propose plan to transform New Mexico’s education system

The New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty logo

September 17, 2018

Contact: Maria Archuleta, (505) 255-2840,

Educators, advocates, and tribal leaders propose plan to transform New Mexico’s education system

ALBUQUERQUE—Over a hundred people from across the state, including educators, advocates, tribal leaders, and families, met on Friday to discuss the reforms necessary to provide New Mexican students with the educational opportunities they need to learn and thrive. The coalition agreed upon a comprehensive platform that greatly expands access to culturally and linguistically relevant curricula, enhances teacher supports, and promotes proven, research-based programs such as universal pre-K and K-5 Plus, extends the school year, lowers class size, and increases funding for the At-Risk Index.

“It’s going to take all of us to transform public education in New Mexico,” said Emma Jones, lead organizer at the Learning Alliance. “Parents, students, educators, and community leaders have been working together on solutions to fix our public schools, and we now have a blueprint for real change. This movement will not stop until every student in New Mexico has access to the quality education all our children need and deserve.”

If adopted by the state, the plan would satisfy the requirements of the recent state court ruling on the consolidated lawsuit Yazzie v. State of New Mexico and Martinez v. State of New Mexico brought by families and school districts represented by the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty and families represented by MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund).

“The ruling has provided an incredible opportunity to transform our public schools for our children, grandchildren, and generations to come,” said Lauren Winkler, attorney at the New Mexico Center for Law and Poverty. “We look forward to working with the state to bring it into compliance with the court’s order. We all want a better education for our children. We hope that we can come to an agreement soon.”

In June, the First Judicial Court declared that New Mexico’s public education system is not sufficient under the state constitution. The court found New Mexico’s education system particularly failed low-income, students of color, Native American, English-language learners, and students with disabilities. The court ordered the state to make sweeping changes to its schools to provide students with the programs and services they need to be college and career ready.

The comprehensive education plan includes significant increases to per pupil funding and teacher pay, time on task in the classroom, access to early childhood education, and culturally and linguistically relevant curriculum.

“We should be leveraging New Mexico’s tremendous assets and diversity,” said Carmen Lopez, executive director of College Horizons. “Our children have such great potential. It’s time to empower them with the educational opportunities they need to succeed.”

Friday’s meeting was the third and largest meeting held by education experts and community leaders since the court decision to discuss how to transform the state’s public education system. The coalition will continue to work together to push for quality education for all New Mexico’s children.

“Education is the single most important investment we can make in New Mexico’s future, not only for positive educational outcomes but for our economy and quality of life for all New Mexicans,” said Veronica Garcia, superintendent of Santa Fe Public Schools, which is a plaintiff in the Yazzie lawsuit. "We have an opportunity to make the transformative changes to our education system that we all know will help our children learn and thrive. Now politics as usual must end. There can be no more excuses. We must give all children the education they deserve.”

A copy of the platform can be found here:

A summary of the court’s opinion can be found here:

More information on the Yazzie/Martinez lawsuit can be found here:

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Endowed ChairThe Department of Sociology at the University of New Mexico invites applications for the newly established Maxine Baca Zinn Endowed Professorship to begin in August 2019. For this full-time, tenured position, we seek applications from sociology of gender scholars at the associate or early professor level. Applicants must have a conferred PhD in sociology or other related field along with a record of employment that would support appointment at the rank of associate or full professor. For best consideration, all application materials must be received by October, 1st 2018. Download the application here.

About the Institute for Race and Social Justice

The Institute for Race and Social Justice will be celebrating its tenth anniversary in January 2019. Highlights include:

  • The interdisciplinary graduate certificate in Race and Social Justice
  • Awareness about the 2020 Census
  • The Ethnic Studies Education and Health (ESEH) Research Partnership which helps Albuquerque Public School teachers form lesson plans about race, community, and historic identity

See the UNM Newsroom article about the Race and Social Justice Institute

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A note from Andrea Abeita, COE LLSS GSA President: Please join us by attending a vitally important meeting this Sunday Sept. 23 at 1pm in the stu ... [Read More]

2018 Black Cultural Conference

2018 Black Cultural Conference

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Keynote Speaker: John Carlos, American track and field athlete and activist ... [Read More]

Dr. Howard Waitzkin

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Visit the UNM Bookstore on October 1st at 12 PM for our UNM Bookstore Book Event with Howard Waitzkin. Under the Knife is comprised of indiv ... [Read More]

New Mexico Evaluators' Annual Conference

New Mexico Evaluators' Annual Conference

Tue, Oct 02 2018   Tue, Oct 02 2018 

Evaluation with New Mexico's Diverse Communities New Mexico Evaluators Annual Conference ... [Read More]

Diversity Challenge 2018

Diversity Challenge 2018

Fri, Oct 19 2018   Sat, Oct 20 2018 

The Institute for the Study and Promotion of Race and Culture at Boston College invites you to join us for the Institute's 18th annual national confer ... [Read More]

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2018 Facing Race Conference In Detroit

Thu, Nov 08 2018   Sat, Nov 10 2018 

Theme: Race and Emotions Facing Race is the largest multiracial, intergenerational gathering for organizers, educators, creatives and leaders. Last ye ... [Read More]