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Press Release

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

NM Chief Outlines Reform Plans for Teacher Evaluation and School Accountability

Contact:Melissa McGrathmelissa.mcgrath@ccsso.org202-336-7034

Washington, DC - Hanna Skandera, Secretary for the New Mexico Public Education Department testified today before the House Education and Workforce Committee about the measures used to hold schools accountable in New Mexico’s education reform efforts. Skandera’s testimony highlighted New Mexico’s education reform efforts focused on the achievement of students, the quality of teachers, and the measures used to hold schools accountable. 

 “Our challenge is great, but I know New Mexico students can reach high levels of achievement.  Further, our cultural and geographic diversity is one of our greatest strengths, and we must find a way to leverage that great resource,” said Skandera in her written testimony. New Mexico’s plan identifies five strategic levers for change including: proactively shifting the allocations of funding; college and career expectations for all students; teacher and school leader evaluation systems; effective options for all students; and an accountability framework that requires states to have a high bar and expectations for all schools with flexibility to allow districts to determine achievement targets for schools and differentiate interventions to meet the unique and specific needs of low achieving schools.

Skandera noted the critical need for effective teacher evaluation systems: “In a recent 2010 sample of twenty-five percent of New Mexico’s teachers, 99.998 percent of these teachers received a rating of ‘meets competency’ on their evaluations (versus ‘does not meet competency’).  Yet we are not seeing proportional success in terms of New Mexico student achievement.  This suggests a lack of alignment between the system that measures teacher performance and the system that measures student learning outcomes.”  New Mexico’s plan for teacher evaluation includes systems with multiple measures such as a value-add model to measure student achievement, objective and uniform observations, and additional measures that will be selected by districts.

 Also highlighted in New Mexico’s plan was a call for Congress to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to incorporate accountability principles that provide real results. “New Mexico encourages Congress to pursue an accountability framework that requires states to have a high bar and expectations for all schools, but coupled with flexibility to allow states and districts to determine achievement targets for schools and differentiate interventions to meet the unique and specific needs of low achieving schools,” said Skandera.

 CCSSO has worked with 44 states to develop accountability system principles that outline how schools, districts, and states should be held accountable for improving student achievement and with 30 states in a consortium to address priority actions that will help increase the effectiveness of teaching and leading to improve student achievement and eliminate disparities.