State Senator Linda Lopez (D-Albuquerque) over the past year she has traveled the state of New Mexico talking to teachers, parents and students about Common Core State Standards and PARCC. She came away from that experience resolved that the citizens of New Mexico need to have the ability to have a conversation about the direction of education in the state.
The New Mexico Public Education Department adopted the Common Core State Standards on November 29, 2010. The state is one of just now eleven states that are still part of the PARCC consortia. In December, 2013 American Institute for Research filed a protest with New Mexico state purchasing agent. They claimed that the bid for the contract was written favorably for Pearson. District Court Judge Sarah Singleton ordered a review in May of 2014 which threatened to delay the implementation of PARCC. In July the State Purchasing Agent Larry Maxwell sided with Pearson and denied the protest.
As of now PARCC and Common Core are going full steam ahead in the state.
“My bill, SB 196, will provide the opportunity to stop, listen, look and review the Common Core State Standards and its accompanying assessment PARCC,” Lopez told Truth in American Education.
This is Lopez’s second attempt to discontinue the Common Core in the state. In the 2014 legislative sesssion Lopez introduced SB 296. The bill died in committee. This year’s bill has the same goal. If passed the bill would halt implementation of the Common Core and withdraw the state from the PARCC testing consortium. It would also require public hearings and a fiscal analysis of the new standards before they are brought into effect.
School districts would be required to use New Mexico academic content and performance standards that existed prior to Common Core. Schools would also be required to administer New Mexico standards-based assessments while a review process was underway. The New Mexico Public Education Department would be required to hold four public hearings in each congressional district by November 1, 2015. The bill requires a non-binding vote to be taken of those attending the hearings so public sentiment is clear.
The bill also establishes a review process by the legislative education study committee that would include:
(1) the projected cost of implementing the common core standards and providing necessary professional development for teachers and principals;
(2) the projected cost of developing, administering and grading assessments tied to the common core standards; and
(3) the cost of retaining the state’s academic content and performance standards and the standards-based assessments.
The Public Department of Education prior to adopting a set of standards after July 1, 2016 is required to “compare state standards with other nationally recognized standards of student achievement, including common core, and shall consult with school superintendents, in-state curricular experts and others. After a fair and balanced study of state and national standards, the department shall report to the legislature on its findings and selections.”
The bill also forbids the Public Department of Education from entering into any agreement or contract that would cede state control over assessments and standards. The department would also be required to withdraw from PARCC and not use their assessments while the review process is taking place.