PRESS RELEASE - June 25, 2003
New Mexico State Department
of Education

300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Ruth Williams
Public Outreach Director
(505) 476-0393

SBE Releases Three-Tiered Performance-Based Licensure System for Public Comment

(Santa Fe, NM)— The first of several public hearings to solicit public comment on a proposed three-tiered licensure system will be held on Monday, June 30, at 1:00 p.m. in Albuquerque at the TVI Workforce Training Center, located at 5600 Eagle Rock Avenue, NE. The New Mexico State Board of Education’s (SBE) Quality Educator Committee on June 18 approved the system for public comment.

“The proposed three-tiered licensure system is the result of strong collaboration and cooperation. And it is critical, since under HB 212 the minimum salaries provided as part of the career system cannot take effect until the SBE has adopted increased competencies and a high objective uniform standard of evaluation for each level of licensure,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael J. Davis.

The system is a central component of HB 212, Public School Reforms, which was passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Bill Richardson this year. The system provides for licensure advancement through Levels I, II and III, using a High Objective Uniform Standard of Evaluation (HOUSE).

Highlights of the proposed three-tiered licensure system include the following:

• The system builds upon what is already in place. Teachers and their principals will still develop an annual professional development plan (PDP), annual evaluations will continue to be conducted by the building principal and recommendations for licensure renewal will continue to be conducted by the district superintendent.
• In order to advance from Level I to II and Level II to III-A, teachers must submit a Professional Development Dossier (PDD) or an assessment from a university capstone course or National Board Teaching Standards Certification to the New Mexico State Department of Education (SDE).
• Two trained external evaluators will assess and score the teachers’ PDD. Teachers will be evaluated based upon New Mexico’s nine teaching standards and indicators for their level of licensure. Although the standards remain unchanged, indicators for meeting the standard vary from Levels I, II and III-A, recognizing teachers’ professional growth and increased competence throughout their careers.
• The proposed system aligns New Mexico’s licensure system with the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act’s requirements for “highly qualified” teachers. Teacher assignments must match qualifications. Teachers will also have options for adding most endorsements that are aligned with the federal requirements for being “highly qualified.”

• The proposed system holds school districts accountable for developing professional opportunities that support teachers’ professional growth in preparation for licensure advancement and renewal.
• The proposed system requires that administrators receive professional development in effective evaluation of teachers.

The proposed licensure system is the result of work done by P-16 educators and policymakers statewide on April 29 in Albuquerque. The SDE convened the work session to develop evaluation procedures for teachers to demonstrate competencies for licensure advancement.

A second work session of the group that met in April will be held on June 30, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at the TVI Workforce Training Center in advance of the public hearing, for participants to deliberate the proposed system and plan for New Mexico’s three-tiered licensure system.

“The educators and policymakers involved in this process are working to ensure a system that is valid, fair, credible, feasible and supportive and respectful of good teaching. In the end, we must have a system that fulfills the spirit of accountability,” said State Superintendent Davis.

Under HB 212, the $30,000 minimum salary for Level I provisional teacher licensure takes effect on December 31, 2003. The remaining salary increases for Levels II and III are phased-in over the next five years according to the following schedule: For Level II professional teacher licensure, salaries will increase to $35,000 in 2004-2005 and $40,000 in 2005-2006 and for Level III master teacher licensure, salaries will increase to $45,000 in 2006-2007 and $50,000 in 2007-2008.

Additional public hearings will be held throughout the state in July and early August. The SBE will consider rule changes to implement the proposed system at its next regular meeting on August 29 in Santa Fe.

Following approval of the system, the SDE, beginning in the fall of 2003 and continuing in the summer of 2004, will develop training and materials for teachers, administrators and assessors and work with them on the process for advancing in the three-tiered system and being “highly qualified.” In addition, the SDE will work with Levels I and II teachers to prepare PDDs.

By April 1, 2004, districts must submit teacher evaluation support plans to the SDE for approval. And by July 1, 2004, teachers must submit PDDs in order to advance to the next licensure level. The NCLB Act requires that by 2006 all teachers must be highly qualified.