During the 2023 legislative session, Think New Mexico made progress on several of our priorities, including:
- Optimizing Time for Teaching and Learning: House Bill 130 was enacted to increase the minimum number of instructional hours from 990 for elementary school students and 1,080 for middle and high school students to 1,140 instructional hours for all students. This is the equivalent of 27 extra days of learning for elementary school students and 10 extra days for middle and high school students, and it is an important step toward ensuring that New Mexico’s students have the time they need to make up for the learning loss they experienced during the pandemic. Read more about this reform.
- Securing funding for teacher residencies: The 2023-2024 budget included $15 million for teacher residencies, paid year-long apprenticeships in which a new teacher teaches alongside an experienced one. Teacher residencies have been shown to enhance the skills of new teachers and nearly double the likelihood that they remain in the profession. Read more about this reform.
- Increasing principal pay and training: The 2023-2024 budget also contained nearly $8 million to increase salaries for principals and assistant principals, who have historically been significantly underpaid relative to their responsibility and impact on students. A separate bill, House Bill 199, raised the mandatory minimum salaries for principals, with larger increases for principals leading high-poverty schools. Read more about this reform.
- Funding the Strategic Water Reserve: The 2023-2024 budget and supplemental appropriations bill designated $7,650,000 for the Strategic Water Reserve, the water management tool that Think New Mexico successfully championed nearly two decades ago to keep our rives running to prevent conflicts over endangered species and interstate river compacts. Read more about this reform.
The Rio Grande Sun published a summary of the status of Think New Mexico’s policy reform efforts at the end of the 2023 legislative session.