Department of Education Grants New Mexico NCLB Waiver

Following last week's approval of 10 states' flexibility from No Child Left Behind (NCLB), New Mexico is the latest state to be granted a waiver.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said that New Mexico's commitment to adopt bold reforms around standards, accountability and teacher effectiveness qualified the state to become the 11th.

Secretary Arne Duncan said:

 "Today, New Mexico joins the ranks of states leading the charge on education reform by protecting children, raising standards and holding themselves accountable.

"As New Mexico implements these reforms, it is important that all stakeholders are at the table and their voices are heard. We encourage the Governor and her team to work closely and in a bipartisan manner with the legislature, and to fully include educators, community and tribal leaders and parents in the process of advancing these reforms."

The waiver means New Mexico will no longer have to meet 2014 targets set by NCLB, with the stipulation being that the state must now create an accountability system that recognizes and rewards high-performing schools while also targeting the lowest-performing schools for rigorous and comprehensive interventions.

Nearly 90 percent of New Mexico's public schools failed last year to make "adequate yearly progress" under the federal law, writes The Associated Press.

New Mexico's waiver deal requires them to develop a teacher evaluation system. And its new accountability plan will include 175 more schools and 20,000 more students by removing some of the practices common under NCLB that excluded many schools and students from accountability measurements.

However, if the plan doesn't pass the Legislature, the state administration will have to consider whether a new evaluation system can be done through regulations.

The state's plans will also require continued transparency around achievement gaps, but will provide schools and districts greater flexibility in how they use Title I federal dollars to support students.

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