PED releases plan addressing Martinez/Yazzie lawsuit

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – While the school year is winding down, we’re getting our first look at some potentially big changes on the way for students. The New Mexico Public Education Department released a detailed plan to address a landmark court case and offer better and equal opportunities for all students.  

It’s a response to the Martinez/Yazzie lawsuit. About four years ago, a judge ruled the state was failing to help all students learn and thrive, especially Native Americans. The lawsuit pointed to low test scores and graduation rates, the number of qualified teachers, and the amount of culturally-appropriate curricula. 

The 50-plus page plan draft includes improvements for every aspect of the education system. 

The PED wants feedback on the outline it has so far.  

Anyone can send comments in an email to no later than Friday, June 17 at 5 p.m. 

One part of the plan is targeting improvement for students with disabilities, Native American students, English learners and economically disadvantaged kids – groups that account for more than 70% of all students.  

There are some big-picture goals. The education department wants the statewide graduation rate to get to 90% by 2027. Rates the last few years have been in the low to mid-70s. 

Education leaders also want to close graduation gaps between ethnicities and disadvantaged students. 

Another target is improving reading and math proficiency rates. PED leaders want those up by 50% in the next four years.  

The plan also focuses on teachers, class sizes, and building on recent successes, including increases in funding. 

Just this year, the state legislature passed pay raises for teachers and more money for Pre-K programs.  

Since the lawsuit, the state has boosted help for economically disadvantaged students, those with disabilities and English learners. It’s also upped funding for more reading programs, extended learning time and more and better internet access.

Outside of funding, PED leadership points out the launch of equity councils and the work to create a response team just for the lawsuit.  

Public education officials said in a statement that there’s still a lot of work to do.