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HomeCommentaryNewMexicoKidsCAN policy priorities for the 2023 legislative session

NewMexicoKidsCAN policy priorities for the 2023 legislative session

New Mexico legislators will gather this week in Santa Fe to kick-off a 60-day legislative session. This year’s session comes at a critical time for the future of public education in our state.

New Mexico students and families have endured tremendous challenges over the past three years. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the education crisis in New Mexico, and the state’s academic results are at their lowest point in decades. The largest education budget in our state’s history and a 60-day session provide a huge opportunity for lawmakers to create positive change for New Mexico’s students and the need is more urgent than ever. 

NewMexicoKidsCAN is committed to advocating for our state’s students and families by providing the information they need to follow the conversation and opportunities to engage in the political process. 

What is NewMexicoKidsCAN? We are a leading advocacy voice for equitable public education in New Mexico. We serve as a catalyst and conduit to advocate for community-informed, student-centered and research-backed education policies that work best for the children of New Mexico. 

By connecting policy, instructional practice and politics, we reimagine what is possible in New Mexico’s public education system.

We all have a part to play in ensuring that New Mexico’s education policies and programs create an excellent educational experience for our 300,000 students.

Our 2023 policy priorities reflect the urgency of this moment and our collective belief in the potential of our students:

Ensure New Mexico Students Receive Research-Based Instruction in Early Literacy

Reading is fundamental. Scientists have a greater understanding of how our brains learn to read than ever before. Unfortunately, our educational methods have not kept pace, and New Mexico needs to ensure that every student in kindergarten through second grade is learning to read in the best way. 

We will work to incentivize districts to adopt new curricular materials aligned with best practice so that every child has the best shot at learning to read.

Secure Funding to Enhance the New Mexico Funding Formula so At-Risk Students Receive the Support They Need

New Mexico’s education funding formula uses an imprecise tool to target funding to the New Mexico students and schools that need it most. NewMexicoKidsCAN will work to secure funding to explore improved ways to calculate the “at-risk” index at a school level.

Ensure Education Stimulus Funds Are Used to Address Lost Learning

New Mexico public schools received $1.6 billion in federal stimulus funds, intended to address lost learning. We will work to pass legislation that ensures the funding is monitored, well spent, and aligned toward improving student learning and provides parents with access to transparent information about how the money is being spent in their district. 

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. As we encourage New Mexico students to explore the full range of options from college to career, we will utilize our community’s assets by creating a new pathway for career experts and tradesmen to serve as classroom educators. 

Advocate for Fair and Equitable Enrollment Processes

Every child deserves access to a high-quality public school, regardless of where they live. Unfortunately, antiquated address-based attendance zones can steal their opportunity. This year we will work to help the community understand the negative impact of attendance zones and how we can make quality schools available to all.

Ensure High-Quality Charter Schools Receive Approval for xpansion  

We will continue to ensure that New Mexico’s charter school authorizers recognize success by approving high-quality applications and supporting the growth of charter schools with a record of success. Similarly, we will hold authorizers accountable for addressing poor performance or financial issues at charter schools that are not delivering on their promises.

During this legislative session, we stand ready to advocate for New Mexico students and families. I hope you’ll join us!