New Mexico’s Common Core Adoption

Common Core appeared in New Mexico on November 29, 2010 with full support by the state. Unfortunately, such acceptance hasn’t lasted, turning it into a hotbed of protest not seen in even the most conservative states. While New Mexico has yet to join the increasingly long list of states to drop the Core entirely, it is nevertheless demonstrating signs of discontent from the usual parents and, more interestingly, from the students as well.

Initial Support

When the Common Core became an option back in 2010, Governor Susana Martinez grabbed hold and purported it to be the educational change the state needed to finally help it reach a competitive status in regards to national and worldwide educational standards. Behind her stood the Secretary of the Public Education Department, Hanna Skandera, loudly trumpeting New Mexico’s exemption to the Now Child Left Behind bill because of the switch to the Core, freeing the state from arguably restrictive measures.

Six Years Later

While it started fierce and fiery, support has wavered. Instead of seeing academic growth, reading and math scores are stagnant and ACT scores have even dropped. The new curriculum even shifted graduation standards, resulting in a drop in graduates. Due to this, many parents are taking advantage of the option they have to opt their children out of the Core.

Unlike the other states, however, it’s not just the parents crying out against the Core. Earlier this year, students in Albuquerque took a stand against the PARCC assessment test used to grade students on their Core aptitude by holding a walkout. A few hundred students joined in even though administrators warned them of consequences. Outside, they stood along the road with signs, getting passersby to honk in support.

The Core versus PARCC

While this may seem like a stand against the Core, it should be noted that PARCC is not a part of the Common Core curriculum. It’s merely an assessment test designed to examine students’ knowledge of the Core standards. Much like all statewide exams, though, it fails to actually provide an accurate representation of the students forced to take it. Because this was its first year counting toward graduation, many students became angered that a new test would determine if they were smart enough to graduate or not.

In light of this, Governor Martinez noted that the state has been preparing for years for this test. In reality, the thousands of other students that did participate reported nothing out of the ordinary save for the occasional computer glitch. Such information hints at the fact that students will never appreciate being judged by a number on a paper even though the SAT and ACT has been doing so for years. As far as the Core and PARCC are concerned in New Mexico, it seems the negativity is being focused on in spite of successes across the state.