Date: February 26, 2013
The Honorable Hanna Skandera
Secretary of Education
New Mexico Public Education Department
300 Don Gasper Education Building
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786
Dear Secretary Skandera:
I am pleased to inform you that the U.S. Department of Education (ED) has determined that New Mexico’s guidelines for teacher and principal evaluation and support systems, and the corresponding changes New Mexico made to Principle 3 of its approved ESEA flexibility request, meet the requirements for Principle 3 articulated in ED’s September 23, 2011, document titled ESEA Flexibility.
During the week of July 16, 2012, two peer experts reviewed New Mexico’s guidelines and the corresponding changes to Principle 3 of New Mexico’s request. Staff from ED also reviewed New Mexico’s submission as well as the changes New Mexico made to Principle 3 of its request in response to the feedback provided following the July peer review. The determination that New Mexico’s guidelines meet the requirements of Principle 3 is based on these reviews and the changes New Mexico made in response to that feedback. I congratulate you on submitting guidelines and a process for ensuring that each district in New Mexico develops, adopts, pilots, and implements teacher and principal evaluation and support systems consistent with those guidelines, both of which reaffirm New Mexico’s commitment to improving academic achievement and the quality of instruction for all of the State’s elementary and secondary school students.
New Mexico’s complete request for ESEA flexibility has already been fully approved through the 2013–2014 school year. In the meantime, ED will continue to monitor New Mexico’s implementation of ESEA flexibility, including the development and piloting of evaluation and support systems consistent with New Mexico’s guidelines. Of particular interest is the limited duration of the pilot and New Mexico’s intention to fully implement its evaluation system in all school districts a year earlier than required by guidelines for ESEA flexibility. ED expects that New Mexico will continue to meaningfully engage and solicit input from stakeholders, including teachers and principals, in this process.
While ED understands and expects that New Mexico may make changes to its guidelines as a result of ongoing development and piloting efforts, New Mexico should ensure that any such changes are consistent with Principle 3 of ESEA flexibility by consulting with ED. Depending on the nature and extent of such changes, New Mexico may need to amend its approved ESEA flexibility request. If you have any questions regarding the amendment process or anything else related to New Mexico’s implementation of ESEA flexibility, please contact Grace Ross at (202) 260-0967 or Grace.Ross@ed.gov.
A copy of New Mexico’s approved request for ESEA flexibility, including its guidelines for teacher and principal evaluation and support systems, as well as the revised Principle 3, will be posted on ED’s web site at: www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/esea-flexibility/index.html. Again, I congratulate you on developing guidelines for teacher and principal evaluation and support systems that meet the requirements of ESEA flexibility and thank you for the work that you and your staff have done. I look forward to continuing to support the State as you implement New Mexico’s ESEA flexibility request and work to improve the quality of instruction and academic achievement for all students.
Deborah S. Delisle
cc: Leighann Lenti, Director of Policy