January 5, 2004
New Mexico Public Education Department
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Ruth Williams
Legislative Liaison
(505) 827-7803

Quality Counts 2005 Gives New Mexico Top Rating
For Academic Standards, Assessments and Accountability

(Santa Fe, NM)-- New Mexico is rated as one of the country's top 10 states for its academic standards, assessments and school accountability by Quality Counts 2005, an Education Week/Pew Charitable Trusts report on education in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, released today. New Mexico received an A, placing seventh and tying with Florida, South Carolina and Kentucky in receiving an overall score of 94 out of 100.

The report also rated New Mexico as one of the country’s top 20 states for its efforts to improve teacher quality. New Mexico received a B-, placing 17th and tying with New York, West Virginia, Missouri and New Jersey in receiving an overall score of 81 (Louisiana received the highest score of 93).

“New Mexico is making tremendous strides at improving education, and it shows. I’m pleased with the significant gains. We went from 23rd to seventh in the area of standards and accountability in just one year and from 30th to 17th in improving teacher quality in two years. New Mexico is clearly on the move and setting a pace for others to follow. My goal is to see New Mexico in the top five in all categories,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Veronica C. García.

According to the report, “New Mexico has all the components of a comprehensive accountability system.” Enhancing the grade were the state’s new standards-based exams. The report also credited New Mexico for its new three-tiered licensure system, signed into law by Governor Bill Richardson in 2003. It noted that New Mexico is one of only three states to require that parents be notified in writing if their child is taught by a person who is not qualified to teach the grade or subject.

New Mexico received a B for the equity of its resources, placing 12th nationally and tying with New York, Delaware, Kansas, Minnesota and Florida in receiving an overall score of 83 (Hawaii received the highest score of 100). New Mexico ranked 33rd in the country for education spending, which Education Week reported as being 95.8% of the U.S. average and a 9% change from 2001. And the state ranked 19th in the country for total taxable resources spent on education.

In the area of “School Climate,” New Mexico received a C+, tying with Idaho, Iowa, Arkansas and Utah in receiving an overall score of 78 (the highest score of 85 was received by Delaware). New Mexico is one of only 11 states in the country to include information on parent involvement on school report cards. The report credited New Mexico for appropriating funds in 2004 for bullying prevention, an initiative launched by Governor Richardson.