PRESS RELEASE - August 22, 2003
New Mexico State Department
of Education

300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Ruth Williams
Public Outreach Director
(505) 476-0393

SBE to Consider New Science Standards, Position on Constitutional Amendments for Special Election

(Santa Fe, NM)—The New Mexico State Board of Education (SBE) will consider new science standards and reconsider its position on the constitutional amendments on governance and the Permanent School Fund on Thursday, August 28, at the New Mexico State Department of Education (SDE), Mabry Hall, located at 300 Don Gaspar in Santa Fe. The meeting begins at 2:00 p.m. and will continue through Friday if the agenda is not completed on Thursday.

“In the words of the Fordham Foundation, the draft science standards ‘compare well with, and in some cases surpass, the very best standards adopted to date’ and ‘should be adopted so the people of New Mexico can be proud of their science standards.’ This is remarkable considering that in 1998 the Foundation gave New Mexico’s science standards an F, upgrading that to a C after some improvements were made in 1999,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael J. Davis. “State Academic Standards, Tests and Accountability” is a major focus of the Foundation.

The SBE voted in January 2003 to maintain its position that the current structure for public school governance should be maintained but to not oppose a public vote on changes to the structure should such measures pass the 2003 Legislature. In June, it voted in support of the Permanent School Fund amendment. The electorate will vote on both amendments on September 23, 2003.

The draft science standards will also be considered by the SBE’s Instructional Services Committee, which meets on Wednesday from 4:15 to 6:00 p.m. The constitutional amendments will be considered by the SBE’s Executive Committee, which meets on Wednesday from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m.

Several major licensure changes will be considered by the SBE on Thursday, including the adoption of regulations for implementing three-tiered licensure and aligning licensure regulations with the “highly qualified” teacher requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. Under HB 212, Public School Reform, passed by the 2003 Legislature, the new minimum salaries for each level of licensure cannot take effect until the SBE has adopted increased competencies and a High Objective Uniform Standard of Evaluation (HOUSE) for each level.

The SBE will consider licensure in native language and culture, a Memorandum of Understanding between the SBE and the Jacarilla Apache Tribe to implement the Native Language and Culture Program, a rule change to provide for substitute teacher certificates to be issued by school districts as required under HB 212 and approval of the Navajo bilingual endorsement licensure program in the Four Corners area at New Mexico Highlands University, the University of New Mexico and Diné College.

The licensure changes will also be considered at SBE’s Educator Quality Committee meeting on Wednesday from 9:15 to 1:00 p.m.

The SBE and its Accountability Committee will consider the accreditation of public schools for 2002-2003 under the new accreditation process approved by the SBE in June, changes to align accountability regulations with federal NCLB requirements and a proposed regulation for the identification and correction of persistently dangerous schools. The committee meets on Wednesday from 1:15 to 4:00 p.m. The items are on the SBE’s agenda for Thursday.

The accreditation process provides for a one-year provisional accreditation status to be granted to the state’s corrective action schools and potential corrective action schools for 2003-2004. All other schools would be granted an accreditation continuance status through 2004-2005. Changes to the accountability regulations include disaggregation of student achievement data by eight subgroups, the adoption of graduation rates for high schools, the 95% tested rule and Adequate Yearly Progress processes and procedures.

The proposed regulation on persistently dangerous schools is being considered for public comment. The federal NCLB Act requires that a student attending a persistently dangerous public elementary or secondary school or who becomes a victim of a violent criminal offense while in school must be allowed to attend a safe school within the district, including a charter school.

The SBE’s Vocational Rehabilitation, Career Education and Adult Services Committee will meet on Thursday from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. to hear a report on input gathered from five regional workshops held across the state on options for high school reform in New Mexico. The SBE instructed staff in November 2002 to hold the workshops on proposed amendments to the Public School Code to change the state’s graduation requirements and require students to prepare a program of study designed around a career pathway. The report will be shared with the SBE on Thursday.

The SBE will reconsider its selection in June of Chester W. Mattocks, CPA, as auditor and consider the SDE’s 2004-2005 budget, which is due to the Department of Finance and Administration by September 2. The Finance, Transportation and Administration Committee on Thursday, from 9:15 a.m. to noon, will receive a report on financial issues in the Cuba, Hatch and Vaughn school districts and the Public Academy for Performing Arts and Robert F. Kennedy Charter School in Albuquerque. It will also be briefed on school district budgets for 2003-2004.

 The SBE’s August agenda is available at the following web address:            
           www.ped.state.nm.us/sbe.desktop/agenda.items/agenda.august.27.29.03.pdf.