New Mexico's commitment to adopt bold reforms around standards, accountability and teacher effectiveness has qualified the state to receive flexibility from No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the current federal education law, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced today.
The announcement makes New Mexico the 11th state to receive a waiver from NCLB. Last week, declaring that our kids can't wait any longer for Congress to act, President Obama announced the first 10 states approved for flexibility: Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.
"Today, New Mexico joins the ranks of states leading the charge on education reform by protecting children, raising standards and holding themselves accountable," Secretary Duncan said. "As New Mexico implements these reforms, it is important that all stakeholders are at the table and their voices are heard. We encourage the Governor and her team to work closely and in a bipartisan manner with the legislature, and to fully include educators, community and tribal leaders and parents in the process of advancing these reforms."
Approval of New Mexico's flexibility plan means that the state will no longer have to meet 2014 targets set by NCLB. In exchange, New Mexico will move to an accountability system that recognizes and rewards high-performing schools and those that are making significant gains, while targeting rigorous and comprehensive interventions for the lowest-performing schools.
New Mexico schools will develop and implement plans to improve educational outcomes for underperforming subgroups of students. New Mexico estimates that its new accountability plan will include 175 more schools and 20,000 more students by removing some of the practices common under NCLB that excluded many schools and students from accountability measurements
The state's plans will also require continued transparency around achievement gaps, but will provide schools and districts greater flexibility in how they use Title I federal dollars to support students.