May 20, 2005
New Mexico Public Education Department
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Jennifer Chavez
Public Information Officer
(505) 476-0393
jchavez@ped.state.nm.us

Secretary García Travels to Houston for Breakfast with
US Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings

( Santa Fe, NM) Secretary García is meeting today with US Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings to argue for more flexibility for New Mexico schools as districts try to meet the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. (NCLB)

This is Secretary García’s third meeting with Secretary Spelling in the last month. The issues being addressed with Secretary Spellings include: Special Education Students; adequate yearly progress based on a child’s growth and the testing of Limited English Proficient children. Secretary García has been asked to stay over for a round-table discussion on NCLB with education chiefs from neighboring states.

“I support the spirit of the No Child Left Behind Act.” Secretary García said. “The act—with adequate funding and more flexibility—complements Governor Richardson’s successful efforts to move New Mexico forward by creating opportunities and expanding access for every child, regardless of ethnicity, economic level or disability. I believe in high standards and raising achievement for all of New Mexico’s students. I am hopeful that we can work with the federal government to achieve a more rational approach to the accountability system.”

Secretary García will also talk to Secretary Spellings about improving testing requirements—focusing on progress that a child makes from year-to-year, rather than testing different groups of children each year.

Governor Bill Richardson has helped lead the charge among states to convince the Bush Administration to give states more leeway to invest in the classroom, not administration.

“As we hold New Mexico schools accountable, we must spend our resources, time and money in the classroom and on teachers,” Governor Bill Richardson said. “No Child Left Behind as it is currently being enforced, is pushing resources to administration and away from our schools and that’s not right.”