July 13, 2004
New Mexico Public Education Department
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Charmaine Jackson-John
Public Information Officer
(505) 476-0393

N.M. Education Secretary to Address Education Commission of the States
2004 National Forum on Education Policy to be held July 13-16, 2004

Santa Fe--New Mexico Secretary of Education Dr. Veronica C. García will be joining the ranks of the nation’s top educators this week to discuss New Mexico’s policy making in federal and state education reform; and the educational progress regarding the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) at the National Forum of Education Policy’s Education Commission of the States (ECS) in Orlando, Florida.

This year's special sessions will focus on the importance of strategic partnerships made up of policymakers and foundation officials. ECS and Grantmakers for Education will examine opportunities and challenges that state leaders face in developing policies that support and increase student achievement in all levels.

“New Mexico is a very diverse state in terms of culture, language and geography. To do our jobs well in education we must respond to that diversity and the children who often struggle with learning because of factors beyond their control,” said the Education Secretary.

Dr. García will be addressing the Grantmaker’s Session: Policy Making in the Context of Federal and State Education Reform on Tuesday, July 13, 2004 at 3:00 p.m. at the Peabody Orlando Hotel in Orlando, Florida.

Since November 2003, Dr. Garcia launched an aggressive, integrated action plan, called project Excel, to close the achievement gap in public education in New Mexico. A few of the goals and objectives are to improve student performance and target district and school planning processes.

On Wednesday, July 14, at 9:30 a.m. the Education Secretary will also discuss how New Mexico is responding to the No Child Left Behind Act at the Peabody Orlando Hotel.

“Highly qualified teachers is the first step to ensuring hi-quality teaching and high student performance, and so far 77% of New Mexico’s public school classrooms in the core academic subjects are taught by qualified teachers, as defined by the No Child Left Behind Act.” said Dr. García. “The NCLB fits into our efforts quite nicely, supporting what was already underway.“

Through a three-year $2.4 million Teacher Quality Enhancement State Grant from the U.S. Department of Education, New Mexico began its teacher quality improvement efforts in 1999, to address recruitment, preparation, induction and professional development in New Mexico.