New Mexico’s five-year education plan was rated the best among the 17 states that submitted plans to the federal government as of late June, according to an independent review.
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos approved the state’s plan on Aug. 9 under the Every Student Succeeds Act.
The review by Bellwether Education Partners and the Collaborative for Student Success found New Mexico was the only state to receive the highest marks in the majority of categories — five out of nine. A few of the high marks were in standards and assessments, student success indicators and measures of academic progress.
Christopher Ruszkowski, acting secretary for the New Mexico Public Education Department, said the early approval will create “stability and continuity” during the upcoming school year, which begins Monday.
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“It’s been a lot of blood, sweat and tears,” Ruszkowski said. “One of our big goals was to be one of the first to submit and one of the first to be approved.”
Gov. Susana Martinez called the U.S. Department of Education’s approval “welcome news for New Mexico’s students, teachers and schools.”
“Over the last few years, our students and schools have made a lot of progress,” Martinez said. “Federal approval of this plan will help us continue this progress so that more New Mexico kids have a chance to succeed in life.”
The U.S. Education Department said that allowing states more flexibility in how they deliver education to students is at the core of the Every Student Succeeds Act.