Immediate, well-thought out action needed to ensure New Mexico’s 330,000 students do not fall further behind.
Santa Fe, N.M. – New Mexico’s approximately 330,000 students will not be returning to school this academic year according to an announcement made by the New Mexico Public Education Department. According to a map published by Education Week, New Mexico joins Kansas, Oklahoma, Alabama and Virginia in deciding to close all schools for the academic year in response to the novel Coronavirus.
“We are dealing with an unprecedented crisis for our students and their families, one that requires all of us to do our part to ensure that the most immediate needs of our students are met,” said Amanda Aragon, executive director of the education advocacy non profit NewMexicoKidsCAN. “Never has the leadership from our superintendents been more critical. Our students, parents, educators and school administrators are in need of immediate support and direction so that all students have access to quality learning opportunities during this closure.”
During the initial closure period, district leaders were forbidden from providing any required instruction or school work. As the state transitions to a closure for the rest of the academic year, the New Mexico Public Education Department is asking district leaders to create Continuous Learning Plans for their districts. These plans will require district leaders to create districtwide plans to provide learning experiences to cover critical learning standards for each student. Aragon added, “our students cannot afford to fall further behind. Our leaders must seize the moment to innovate and find creative solutions to provide access to quality learning, and that should start by ensuring every student has access to devices and wireless internet.”
A summary of district learning plans from across the nation compiled by the Center for Reinventing Public Education illustrates the stark contrast of quality across district plans. This information reveals that there are school districts and charter schools across the country leading in the implementation of strong learning plans during closure. Aragon concluded, “New Mexico students would be served well if our leaders learn from best practices from across the nation, and adapt them for our local context.”
About NewMexicoKidsCAN: Launched in 2018, NewMexicoKidsCAN is a local non-profit organization that advocates for community-informed, student-centered and research-backed education policies. Connecting policy, instructional practice and politics the organization works to reimagine what is possible in New Mexico’s public education system to ensure New Mexico students become the future community, civic and business leaders New Mexico needs.
To learn more, visit www.nmkidscan.org.