After 60 days of legislative deliberation and the governor’s three week signing period, the 2023 legislative season is complete! It was our first in-person 60 day legislative session in four years and though it brought many challenges–some expected, others, not so much–NewMexicoKidsCAN finished strong!
Our priority bill, House Bill 481, was passed and signed by Governor Lujan Grisham last Wednesday. We also achieved policy wins related to CTE educators, charter schools and more! You can read more about our accomplishments this legislative session below.
We look forward to our continued partnership as we move from bill passage to implementation. Our success is impossible without your voice, your advocacy and your commitment to New Mexico students. Thank you for your engagement over the last three months. These wins are your wins.
POLICY GOAL 1: ENSURE NEW MEXICO STUDENTS RECEIVE RESEARCH-BASED INSTRUCTION IN EARLY LITERACY
Our literacy bill, HB 481, was signed by Governor Lujan Grisham on Wednesday! Districts will now be incentivized to adopt high-quality instructional materials aligned with the science of reading, ensuring students across New Mexico are learning to read with the best resources available.
This was our top priority this session and we are grateful for everyone who advocated for its passage. Thank you, Minority Leader Ryan Lane for sponsoring the legislation, and President Pro Tempore Mimi Stewart for presenting the bill to the Senate.
We believe this is a step forward in solving New Mexico’s literacy crisis. As we shared with you before, NAEP scores reveal that more than half of NM students do not have even a partial mastery of the reading skills required for their grade. Our work to improve literacy will continue. We will have more on the importance of literacy instruction next week. Stay tuned!
Learn more about HB 481 at NMEducation.org.
POLICY GOAL 2: SECURE FUNDING TO ENHANCE THE NEW MEXICO FUNDING FORMULA SO AT-RISK STUDENTS RECEIVE THE SUPPORT THEY NEED
The good news is, the budget increases funding for our “at-risk” students from a .3 multiplier to .33, resulting in additional $31 million for districts to support the students that need it most. Unfortunately, New Mexico continues to use an imprecise tool to target the funding to our most vulnerable students. NewMexicoKidsCAN will work throughout the interim to identify improved methods of calculating the at-risk index at a school level, instead of a district level.
POLICY GOAL 3: ENSURE EDUCATION STIMULUS FUNDS ARE USED TO ADDRESS LOST LEARNING
We worked with Senator Diamond on SB 24 which would have created reporting requirements for school districts and ensured ESSER funds were monitored, well-spent, and aligned toward improving student outcomes. After passing the Senate with strong bipartisan support, the bill was tabled by the House Education Committee on a 7-6 vote.
New Mexico has $1 billion in unspent ESSER funds and only 18 months to spend the remaining balance. We are disappointed that this was not discussed with more urgency this legislation session. We will continue to advocate for stronger oversight of these funds and work with partners to highlight districts and schools that are strategically using their ESSER funds.
POLICY GOAL 4: CREATE A PATHWAY FOR COMMUNITY EDUCATORS
New Mexico students desire an education grounded in relevance and real-world application, especially in career and technical education courses. During the session, we worked with Representative Pamelya Herndon to create a pathway for career experts and tradesmen to serve as classroom educators. Unfortunately, our bill (HB 472) was never granted a hearing in the House Education Committee.
Senator Craig Brandt sponsored a similar bill (SB 417) which passed both chambers unanimously and was signed by Governor Lujan Grisham last Thursday. The bill ensures New Mexico will be able to utilize the expertise and experience of our tradesmen to teach CTE courses for NM students. We fully support this bill and are grateful that our policy goal of creating pathways for our tradesmen to serve as community educators was accomplished.
POLICY GOAL 5: ADVOCATE FOR FAIR AND EQUITABLE ENROLLMENT PROCESSES
Every child deserves access to a high-quality public school, regardless of where they live. During the session, we supported legislation that would give families access to the schools that work best for their children. Through the rest of the year, we will highlight the negative impacts of attendance zones and how we can make quality schools available to all.
POLICY GOAL 6: ENSURE HIGH-QUALITY CHARTER SCHOOLS RECEIVE APPROVAL FOR EXPANSION
The 2023 Legislative Session came with another attack on charter schools. SB 422 would have halted the expansion of charter schools in any district where the current enrollment of charter school students was 10% of the local school district’s population. In a joint effort with many partners and community members, we successfully defeated this legislation.
Thank you for contacting your legislators to let them know how important charter schools are to New Mexico students and families. We will continue to be strong supporters of high-quality charter schools and will work to support their growth and expansion across New Mexico.
Read more about the defeat of SB 422 on NMEducation.org.
In addition to our policy priorities, we monitor all education legislation to ensure New Mexico is prioritizing policies that are student-centered, research-based and supported by our community. A few other positive outcomes from the legislative session are:
- SJR 1, which would have allowed voters to decide whether or not to return to a state school board, failed to pass after stalling on the House Floor.
- HB126, which made major changes to New Mexico graduation requirements including decreasing the credits required by two, and removing the requirement to take Algebra II was vetoed by Governor Lujan Grisham.
- HB 130 was passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Lujan Grisham, increasing New Mexico’s minimum instructional hour requirement to 1,140 hours for K-12 students.
Our work does not end here. Be sure to follow along on social media, listen to our New Mexico Rising podcast, and subscribe to NMEducation.org to get the latest updates on these education initiatives and more.
Thank you for all you did to support our work over the last three months. There is much more work to do. We hope we can count on your continued support.