PRESS RELEASE - November 19, 2003
New Mexico Public Education Department
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Ruth Williams
Public Outreach Director
(505) 476-0393

Secretary Garcia Shares 12-Point Entry Plan for Education

(Santa Fe NM)--Secretary of Education Dr. Veronica C. Garcia today shared her 12-point entry plan for public education with the New Mexico Public Education Commission (NMPEC) at its meeting in Santa Fe. The plan is part of her overall vision for public education in New Mexico.

“We will create a system for public education in New Mexico that will become a flagship educational system in the nation,” she said. “We will uniformly implement a rigorous, engaging and relevant educational curriculum and performance standards and provide our students with the appropriate support system so that all students will be successful. We can and will become a state where all children will be able to graduate from our K-12 public education system prepared to competently participate in postsecondary education or the workforce.”

The 12-point plan calls for the following:

· Restructuring of the New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED)
· Analysis of the NMPED’s financial/business operations
· Development of a statewide community engagement framework
· Creation of a framework for enhanced public relations
· Creation of a statewide Coordination Council for Education Reform to bring together various groups working to reform the state’s schools
· Development of a master strategic plan
· Acceleration of the implementation of the Indian Education Act
· Creation of a Rural/Small Schools Task Force to identify key stakeholders and issues
· Development of a system for articulation with institutions of higher learning
· Focusing on assessment and accountability
· Creation of a framework for articulation with other youth providers
· Creation of positive change in the culture of the NMPED.

Dr. Garcia spoke of the need to establish best practices to meet the multi-cultural and multi-lingual needs of students so they will perform at high levels, construct a system of supports for students to holistically meet their needs, revamp the NMPED to create a high-functioning, service-oriented agency that will provide quality technical support and bring services closer to districts, ensure that all students are taught and supported by qualified, competent and committed educational personnel and create an articulated K-16 educational system.

“Our educational system in New Mexico will create an infrastructure to engage representative stakeholders in a meaningful dialogue as we continue to shape and improve our education system,” said Secretary Garcia.

She said the 12 points “are a starting point of the work that must be ‘jump-started’” and were not presented in order of priority.

The NMPEC heard an address from Governor Bill Richardson, click here to view the governor's news release, and received a progress report from Rep. Rick Miera, of Albuquerque, chairman of the Legislative Education Study Committee (LESC), on the work of the LESC’s Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Governance of Public Schools, including its proposals regarding the powers and duties of the NMPEC.

Recommendations for the NMPEC have included the development of a five-year strategic plan that would be updated at least every two years, soliciting of input from groups throughout New Mexico and recommending guidelines and curriculum for local school board member trainings.

NMPEC member Christine Trujillo, of Albuquerque, said, “I’d like to think when the dust settles, (the new changes) will be a positive thing for everyone.”

Chairperson Eleanor B. Ortiz, of Santa Fe, appointed a task force to review the recommendations coming from the LESC’s ad hoc committee and the Governor’s Progress Agenda Task Force and appointed NMPEC member Alfred Herrera, of Espanola, to review the work underway by the LESC, Legislative Finance Committee and Legislative Council regarding the Training and Experience (T&E) Index and capital outlay issues.

The next meeting of the NMPEC will be held on Tuesday, January 7, beginning at 8:00 a.m. at the NMPED, Mabry Hall, located at 300 Don Gasper in Santa Fe.