PRESS RELEASE - June 18, 2003
New Mexico State Department
of Education

300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Ruth Williams
Public Outreach Director
(505) 476-0393

SBE Votes in Support of Permanent School Fund Amendment; Approves New Accreditation Process
New Mexico Selects Harcourt Educational Measurement for CRT Development

(Santa Fe, NM)—The New Mexico State Board of Education (SBE) voted today at its regular meeting in Santa Fe to support the permanent school fund constitutional amendment – Senate Joint Resolution 6 – to be voted on by the electorate on September 23, 2003 and approved a modified accreditation plan for school year (SY) 2003-2004 and SY 2004-2005.

“Through today’s endorsement of the permanent school fund constitutional amendment, the SBE stands in support of the state’s teachers and education reform. The amendment will help to fund the reforms provided in HB 212 and provides for a much-needed investment in the future of our children,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael J. Davis.

The SBE also approved a new accreditation process that provides for a one-year provisional accreditation status to be granted to the state’s corrective action schools and potential corrective action schools for SY 2003-2004. Under the new process, all other schools will be granted an accreditation continuance status through SY 2004-2005.

Provisional status schools will receive on-site monitoring visits and monitoring of local corrective action plans. Performance-warned and school improvement schools under accreditation continuance will be required to update the New Mexico State Department of Education (SDE) on their school improvement plans and student progress each spring, may receive on-site visits and will receive targeted technical assistance from the SDE, districts or other service providers. Meets standards, exceeds standards and exemplary schools under accreditation continuance will be required to provide a written update on their Educational Plans for Student Success (EPSS) and/or school improvement plans by December 31, 2003.

Any school or district not providing the necessary information by the deadline will be subject to a change in accreditation status. Additional state and federal regulatory monitoring will continue, as well as North Central Accreditation reviews and support.

On June 17, the SDE’s assistant superintendent for accountability, Dr. Mel Morgan, announced to the SBE’s Accountability Committee that Harcourt Educational Measurement of San Antonio, Texas, has been selected to develop and implement statewide criterion-referenced assessments (CRTs) for grades 3-8 in reading, language arts and mathematics and, as funds permit, in social studies and science in grades 3-8 and in all subjects in grade 9.

“Our goal is to build a valid and reliable assessment system that measures student academic performance in relation to New Mexico’s content standards with benchmarks and provides data from which to make valid and reliable decisions for the state’s accountability program,” said Dr. Morgan. This is a critical step in our transition from a norm-referenced to a criterion-referenced, standards-based assessment system.”

A review committee evaluated nine proposals and determined that Harcourt best met the scope of work in the RFP. As a result of passage of the No Child Left Behind Act, New Mexico has received $4.4 million to assist in the development of CRTs, which is a requirement of the act. The first administration of the new CRTs will take place in 2004-2005.

The SBE approved an amendment to SBE Regulation 6.19.2 that adds detail to the process for corrective action initiated by a local school board, superintendent or the governing body of a charter school, an amendment to SBE Regulation 6.62.2 revising the competencies for an education administration license and a new rule establishing a specialty area within special education for persons seeking licensure to teach students with blindness and visual impairments. It postponed a vote on establishing Licensure in Native Language and Culture.

In addition, the SBE approved the rating of schools with some configurations of grades K-2, as directed by the U.S. Department of Education. The SDE will assign grade 3 data from the primary feeder schools backwards for school year 2003-2004. Once CRT data have been established for all grades in all schools, New Mexico will be able to move forward completely with Adequate Yearly Progress.

On June 18, the SBE’s Educator Quality Committee approved the concept of a proposed three-tiered licensure system for release for public comment. The system provides for licensure advancement through Levels I, II and III, using a High Objective Uniform Standard of Evaluation (HOUSE). Under HB 212, passed by the Legislature this year, the minimum salary provided as part of the career system cannot take effect until the SBE has adopted increased competencies for the particular level of licensure and HOUSE. The SBE will consider the three-tiered licensure system at its August regular meeting. Public hearings will be held in July and August. Salary increases for Levels I, II and III will be phased in over five years.

The SBE recognized Dotty Reilly from Los Alamos, the 2003 national school nurse of the year, and presented SDE and Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) employee awards.

The next regular meeting of the SBE will be held on August 27-29 in Santa Fe.