Next Tuesday New Mexico’s legislators will climb up the steps of the Roundhouse to kick-off our state’s 54th legislative session. With record high revenue estimates, a judicial directive related to education funding, and a new Governor, there will be no shortage of education issues being debated.

Through it all, NewMexicoKidsCAN remains committed to advocating for our state’s students and families.  We will continue to serve as a catalyst and conduit to advocate for community-informed, student-centered, research-backed education policies and programs that work best for our children. We aim to provide every New Mexico child with an education that prepares them to achieve their wildest dreams. We envision a New Mexico led by New Mexicans who use the skills and competencies honed by our education system—and the collective experiences of our people—to create a better future for our state.

It is in that spirit that we have established our 2019 Policy Priorities, all of which are grounded in our roadmap for the Future of Education in New Mexico.

Ensure expanded public school funding is equitable and that it benefits the students who need it most.

While it’s projected that New Mexico will have significant additional revenue, it is imperative that the impact of increased education funding is directed to where it matters most; our students, especially our students from low-income communities. We stand ready to support increased funding for at-risk students, expanded bilingual programs, additional funding for Pre-K and extended learning programs like K-5+, targeted differentiated support to ALL schools, higher salaries for educators (particularly those serving in the highest-need schools), and other initiatives that are evidence based and have the potential to deliver increased academic outcomes for New Mexico students. In fact, we highlighted many of these programs in our vision guide, released earlier this year.

Sustain and improve upon the systems that provide families, educators and policymakers critical information about school, educator and student performance.

At NewMexicoKidsCAN, we believe our education system can be the best in the nation. To achieve this–we must utilize strong instruments and meaningful data to keep us on course. Parents deserve clear information about their children’s progress and their school’s performance. Administrators need to know how their schools are performing to adjust their strategies and services. And teachers will grow and develop—thus continuously strengthening their work with students—through personalized professional development and mentorship grounded in student performance data. This is why you will see NewMexicoKidsCAN advocating for strong statewide assessments (in multiple languages), clear and summative school rating systems and a robust system of performance evaluation in the months ahead.

Ensure all New Mexico families continue to have quality school options.

No two New Mexico children are the same. Our schools and pathways should complement our students’ distinct identities by offering a multitude of options for rigorous, forward-thinking and diverse school models.  This is why NewMexicoKidsCAN will be advocating to maintain and expand choice. We will oppose any policies that adversely impact charter schools, including any moratorium or cap on charter schools, or charter school enrollment. There are currently thousands of parents and families on waiting lists for charter schools and they deserve more options, not less. We support exploring ways to expand options for students in both rural and urban communities, ensuring equitable funding and facilities for charter schools, creating stronger accountability for existing charter schools, and streamlining processes for high-quality schools to replicate.

We are ready to fight for our students and families in 2019 and we hope you’ll join us!

Amanda is the founding executive director of NewMexicoKidsCAN and an alumna of the 50CAN Education Advocacy Fellowship. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.


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