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Local Leagues in New Mexico

 

EDUCATION (Adopted 1987; revised 1995, 2009, 2015, 2016, 2017)

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico (LWVNM) believes that education is the cornerstone for perpetuating a strong and viable democracy. The public education system should impart to all students an understanding of the nature of democracy and the responsibilities of citizenship, the ability to think critically, and the skills necessary to continue to learn and function as adults in a complex society.

The League supports public schools as the primary method of educating students. The League opposes the presence of private, for-profit companies in the governance, management, and provision of public education. LWVNM believes that a regionally elected State Board of Education should be responsible for appointing a Superintendent of Public Instruction and directing education policy, regulation, and finances.

LWVNM supports the following strategies to ensure the greatest possible academic success for all students:

Practices for Student Success :

1. Use the Common Core State Standards to provide a framework for knowledge and the academic skills that all students are expected to master, with flexibility for district and charter schools s ystems to determine how this body of knowledge and skills is imparted to students. the standards are taught and measured.

2. Develop to each student's highest potential the mastery of knowledge and skills needed for success in adult life, along with a broad understanding and appreciation of past history and prospects for the future.

3. Cultivate each student's capacity to solve problems and make decisions.

4. Provide opportunities for all students to develop their aesthetic awareness and creative abilities.

5. Foster an awareness of the rights, and privileges, and responsibilities of membership participation in a democratic society , and acceptance of the responsibilities involved.

6. Foster an understanding of basic economic principles and the need to manage resources for the benefit of both present and future generations.

7. Provide the tools to make wise vocational college and career choices , as well as an and to understand ing of the importance of each individual's work in the local, national, and world economies.

8. Promote practices that lead to physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

9. Enhance the sense of community within the school, as a microcosm of the larger society, through standards of conduct that reflect a concern for the opinions, values, aspirations, and well-being of all.

10. Develop the critical thinking and problem-solving skills of students through experiential based learning . Also, through the use of technology for self-paced learning.

11. Maintain and use health and social service teams in the schools to identify and work with at-risk children students and their parents or caregivers, with referrals to appropriate community agencies when necessary.

Community Involvement:

  1. Collaborate across with all sectors of the community to improve public education at all levels.
  2. Seek business initiatives offering work schedules that support student attendance at school.
  3. Create incentives to encourage students to develop career skills and graduate from high school.
  4. Institute Implement programs that increase involvement of parents of all socioeconomic groups in the education of their children at all grade levels.

Early Childhood Education:

Secure collaboration among a broad base of community organizations, social service agencies, and the local schools system to enhance the development of children from birth to age five to prepare them for success in kindergarten and beyond.

Evaluation of Teachers, Students, and School Performance:

  1. Student evaluation should focus Focus student evaluation on student academic progress rather than rigid standards of proficiency.
  2. Student testing should be used for the purpose of Use student testing to assist enabling teachers to create in providing effective and timely teaching strategies for the best possible student academic achievement.
  3. Implement measures to improve the preparation, recruitment, professional development, and retention of quality educators with in-depth knowledge in core academic subjects and instructional strategies.
  4. Teacher performance evaluations should demonstrate the teacher’s in-depth knowledge in core academic subjects and pedagogy.
  5. Teacher evaluations should be based on achievement of the goals in their performance evaluation plan, significant classroom observations, and some consideration of the overall students’ academic progress in the classroom.
  6. Termination of teachers and principals who do not meet minimum standards should follow a due process procedure when they do not meet minimum standards.

Follow due process procedures when terminating teachers and principals who do not meet minimum standards.

  1. Assessment of the school and teacher performance should demonstrate the overall quality of the education provided to the students and improvements in student academic growth as measured by multiple methods, not solely standardized tests. Base assessment of school and teacher performance on overall quality of the education provided to the students and improvements in student academic growth as measured by multiple methods, including professional observations.

Funding for Public Education (Adopted 1973; revised 1983, 1993, 2002, 2007, 2015)

A broadly -based distribution formula should be used that takes into consideration differences in student needs, teacher experience and qualifications, the number of schools and students in a district, level of education, capital outlay, and transportation. Use a distribution formula that reflects differences in student needs, teacher experience and qualifications, the number of schools and students in a district, level of education, capital outlay, and transportation requirements.

  1. Programs that foster children’s language development, from birth to age 5, for success in kindergarten and beyond should be adequately funded.
  2. The New Mexico State Equalization Guarantee funding formula Funding Formula should be used to achieve equality equity and to provide fair funding for every child based on need, regardless of location. There should be periodic review and modifications to assure that the formula is faithful to its original intention.
  3. Funding formulas should provide for a high quality education for all students and be consistently and fairly applied across the state.
  4. Local school districts should control the funds distributed to them by the state.
  5. The financial impact on traditional public schools must be evaluated before charters are granted or renewed.

  1. Funding to state-chartered schools should minimize the amount allocated to for-profit management and business operations with oversight provided by state-approved auditors.
  2. All state and federal mandates should be funded accompanied by funding so as not to place an undue burden on the local school system public schools.

Charter School Regulation (2016)

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico believes that every student should have access to a high quality, publicly funded education regardless of race, ethnicity, family income, or geographical location. The League believes in accountability, transparency, and equity in the use of public funds for education.

Charter schools are discretionary programs intended to fill unmet needs and/or to test innovative instructional strategies to produce quality educational outcomes. Policy makers must ensure that adequate funds are available for traditional public schools and define how charter schools fill unmet needs. Appropriate instructional and support services must be provided in all public schools to meet the diverse needs of individual students.

Regarding the mission of charter schools, the LWVNM believes the following:

  1. A charter school should not be authorized unless
    1. its mission would serve a need the traditional schools cannot;
    2. funds are available;
    3. there is a demonstrated need based on student population projections.
  2. New Mexico should provide flexibility and supplemental funding for magnet programs and career academies within traditional public schools.
  3. Charter school innovations demonstrated to be effective should be disseminated to improve the traditional public education system.
  4. The state should establish a closure policy revoking the contract of a charter school that fails to meet minimum academic, financial, and organizational standards for two consecutive years or for two of the three most recent years.

For the sake of assuring accountability and transparency and minimizing the fiscal impact, LWVNM recommends the following:

  1. A charter school’s finances should be available for public scrutiny, and budget processes should be similar to those for school districts, which require the public to be provided with an opportunity for input into decision-making.
  2. Charter school governing council members should adhere to standards and best practices as delineated by the NM School Boards Association.
  3. Funding to state-chartered schools should minimize the amount allocated to for-profit management and business operations with oversight provided by state-approved auditors.
  4. The school Funding formula should be equitable so as not to advantage charter schools over traditional public schools.
  5. NM should develop an effective performance-based accountability system for charter schools focused on increased proficiency, academic growth, and college/career readiness standards to ensure that charter schools demonstrate positive student outcomes. Charter schools that do not meet the established benchmarks should be put on time-limited improvement plans and not allowed to increase enrollment until they have met the benchmarks.

LWVNM believes that public funding for virtual schools should be less per student since the schools do not require brick and mortar facilities.

League of Women Voters of New Mexico

www.lwvnm.org leaders@lwvnm.org