The Associated Press & Nathan O'Neal
Updated: June 29, 2020 06:36 PM
Created: June 29, 2020 12:13 PM
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico judge has rejected a motion by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to dismiss a landmark education lawsuit that was filed against the state.
The Democratic governor had argued that her administration was on its way to addressing the ruling and that the case should be dismissed.
"We're not throwing up our hands and saying we're done, but what we're saying is that we've taken enough action to show immediate steps by April 15. 2019 to improve the public education system, which is what the court required," said state defendant attorney Taylor Rahn.
Attorneys representing the Yazzie-Martinez lawsuit successfully argued that the court must continue to monitor the state's progress.
Plaintiffs also asked for the judge to order the state government to develop a comprehensive plan to transform the education system.
"It's going to take all of us working together to build a school system that finally delivers a constitutionally sufficient education," said Gail Evans, with the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty.
While the judge is not requiring a plan be developed right now, he is leaving that option open as attorneys get the green light to conduct fact-finding and evaluate how the state is performing.
The 2018 ruling that New Mexico failed to provide children with sufficient education as required by the state constitution has brought racial and socioeconomic inequity to the forefront in a state where per-student spending and educational achievement hover near the bottom of national rankings.
(Copyright 2020 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)